Thursday, October 10, 2002

Breast cancer walks draw 1,000

Published in the Current

Over 1,000 people of all ages streamed into Fort Williams Park Oct. 7 to support breast cancer research and treatment. The annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk was in Cape for the fifth year, as well as numerous other locations around the state and across the country.

In Cape, dogs and kids in strollers were among the crowds of people who did two laps around the park to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The funds will support breast cancer research, advocacy, early detection outreach and awareness programs and patient support programs.

Laurel Jeffers of Scarborough is on the organizing committee and had a large support group for her team, named “I Love My Life.”

Jeffers, who is living with breast cancer, said she is trying to raise money to promote testing for women under 40. She was diagnosed two years ago, at age 31. “You really don’t have to have a family history,” Jeffers said.

She said mammograms and ultrasounds are not complete diagnostic tools the way a biopsy is. She was undiagnosed for two years because her doctors did not perform a biopsy.

“Mammograms just aren’t cutting it,” Jeffers said. The most important part, she said, is not medical technology. “You have to do your monthly breast exam,” she said.

Pam Foster of Scarborough said she is involved because her mother died of breast cancer in 1976. Her mother-in-law also died of breast cancer, making Foster concerned for her 12-year-old daughter ’s health in adulthood.

Several Scarborough High School students also participated. “It’s really good that they give us this opportunity” to combat breast cancer, said Leah Wallof. “It’s just so important that we need a cure,” said Kerry Jones.

Five years ago, the walk had nine teams and 90 people, according to organizer Terry Baker. This year they had over 50 teams and over 1,000 people. The event raised about $60,000, according to preliminary numbers.