Making Major Strides in Nashville!

Most of us are alone when we are told we have cancer. We are scared because we never envisioned hearing that word said to us. How do you prepare for being told you have breast cancer?  Where do you get a handbook on what to do if you are told this kind of information? If it existed, who would want to read it? It would feel like a death wish or a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts.   Thus, it is one of the most isolating moments in your life.

Afterwards, you can be in a room full of caring friends and have moments when you feel alone, isolated, as if no one else truly understands how you feel.  This feeling, even while in treatment, while in surgery, recovery will come and go.  It varies from person to person but cancer is unique to each and every individual. But one thing remains constant, the day you are diagnosed, the moment, is never forgotten and at that slice in time, you are alone.  Your world is surrounded by only your own thoughts and feelings for a few moments in time while you try to absorb the enormity of what was just said.

Because of this, one of the most beautiful things about Making Strides Against Breast Cancer sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS) to me is the concept of togetherness. We are not alone. We are in this together.  Breast cancer, beating it, ultimately, is everyone’s responsibility. Yes, individually we need to take treatment and try to overcome our individual pathology case, the side effects, if a re-occurrence occurs, metastatic breast cancer, etc…  But the community at large has a responsibility to help prevent others from getting the diagnosis to begin with, continuing doing research to find better methods of prevention, easier treatment plans and cures so that women and men are not dying from this disease. 

Making Strides is the coming together of all types of people, young, old, various religions and walks of life just to support this one cause that affects so many lives, breast cancer. In a world full of hate and violence, to see a symbol of love and life in a sea of pink is precious.  To see children and men wearing a color that to a cancer survivor means I lived another day to wear pink reminds me I am not alone ever, I never was and never will be as long as I live.    

This Strides season began this summer with Montgomery Gentry starting a Band of Pink, a commitment to donate $1,000 and promote their loyalty to the cause. When Tory Gentry’s wife Angie got diagnosed with it, rather than let the news come out through the media, he broke the news to his fans himself.  Troy and Angie then decided to do something positive about the disease choosing this venue, Making Strides for Breast Cancer. They challenged others to hop on board the Pink Band and donate too. This added incentive made me particularly proud of be an integral part of the social media piece this year. I thought this year could be, potentially, a huge year for Nashville.  

At the event, there were over 35,000 registered walkers this year on Oct. 10th.  We know that many
walkers simply showed up without registering so we are not sure of the exact count.  The donations at the close of the day totaled more than $900,000 but with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month more donations are rolling in for teams and individuals to ACS the entire month of October so that number is rising.  But what is so different and so cool about the Strides event that some folks don’t get without knowing it inside out is there is little overhead.  

Making Strides budget doesn't allow for much money on promotion at all. That is perhaps why social
media is done often times by people like me, a volunteer, as in unpaid.  This way donors can be assured as much as possible the majority of donations  go to what is promoted.  There is not vendor booths held to have giveaways because that is not the focus of the Strides event for ACS. This is simply about Breast Cancer only. It is not a health fair, not a convention, not a buyers paradise, just exactly what it is called a show of support for Breast Cancer, a way to Make Strides towards the mission of obliterating breast cancer.  And it works, ask the 35,000 in attendance.

Walking with them all, standing in a sea of people, all smiling, none of us are alone in caring about breast cancer and the issues surrounding it. So remember, if you are ever faced with the diagnosis, the one moment in time you feel alone, it will pass and you will soon feel the love of us all, all of us that come in pink to the streets in October to Make Strides!    Video Link Here

For additional information about breast cancer or any form of cancer, visit ACS's website at cancer.org or call the 24/7 hotline# at 800-227-2345.