We have all heard her story.
Our mother, sister, friend, daughter—found a lump. She then began the battle of her life, fighting one of the most common cancers faced by women. Even as we held her hand, even as we offered all the support we could muster, we felt the profound and empty helplessness of having a loved one diagnosed with breast cancer.
Dressed in pink, carrying signs and banners, wearing walking shoes or rolling in wheelchairs, hundreds will join the fight against breast cancer on October 13, during Winona's second annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event, at 10 a.m. at Unity Park (behind Winona Health). The fundraiser will be a chance for everyone to stand up against a cancer that strikes close to the heart, and all the money raised will help local people undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Organizer Jenny Bushman said she became involved in other breast cancer fundraising events in Pine Island, and when she moved here it was natural to start a movement in Winona. After several colleagues in Pine Island were diagnosed with breast cancer, Bushman said the effort began to hit closer to home. “Once you have that connection, you feel like you have to do something,” she said.
Those who are able will walk around Lake Winona. Both teams and individuals will raise money for the cause. People can start a team, join a team, simply donate, or just attend to help raise awareness, said Bushman.
There will be plenty of activities during the event: the Winona State University dance team and others will provide upbeat entertainment; there will be a bounce house for kids, and even a tattoo airbrush artist on hand for some special (likely pink!) temporary designs. Breast cancer survivors will be recognized and receive survivor medals of honor, and everyone who attends will be given a free pink breast cancer awareness T-shirt.
“The money is to help people in Winona County who have been diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Bushman. Last year, during the first Making Strides event, 300 people attended and nearly $20,000 was raised, so organizers are hoping that the event grows each year.
But it’s not just the money. “It’s the awareness that you raise,” said Bushman. “Just having 300 people in a common area that are kind of crazy about pink…that’s huge. We have this great opportunity to raise awareness, and you can’t put a price tag on that. There’s an energy that’s generated on that day that just makes you feel like you are helping people. There are just a whole bunch of people who really care and who are passionate, and you feel that. I just think it’s an amazing opportunity.”
To learn more about how to help, visit the Making Strides web site and search “Winona” to find the local event page: