Making Strides Walk-A-Thon To Thwart Breast Cancer

By Ira Liebowitz

November 3, 2022

A sea of pink converged Saturday in Downtown Fort Lauderdale as some 15,000 clad in the color of the day, a few with pink hair or butterfly wings, came out to honor loved ones and raise funds and awareness at the Annual Making Strides Get-Together at Huizenga Park to thwart Breast Cancer.

Unlike last year's event, when attendees had to combat rain and slog through puddles, Mother Nature cooperated to grace them with a picture-perfect, cloudless morning. Aside from the weather, several of the festivities and presentations remained the same as well as a jubilant spirit and smiling faces. WSVN7 Meteorologist Vivian Gonzales attended again this year.

The event kicked off with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts from Pembroke Pines who performed a dignified American Flag Presentation. Folks on the amphitheater stage and milling about the park grounds, put their hands to their heart or saluted for the Pledge of Allegiance. Tiffani Dishner sang the National Anthem.

Speakers from the American Cancer Society, Sylvester Comprehensive Center and other Organizations introduced the occasion and shared info. "Creating a future free from Cancer runs deep.... Today we are celebrating the survivors and thrivers." said a representative. That sentiment conveying caring and camaraderie was echoed throughout the day.

The ACS has fought Cancer for more than a century. During the past 30 years, Breast Cancer fatality has declined in women by 41 percent. Today there are some 3.8 million survivors of Breast Cancer. Each year some 280,000 succumb to the disease, about one in a hundred being men. The goal at this event is to raise $800,000.

Edward Aguilar, the main sponsor from Seminole Hard Rock, presented on stage a check for $100,000 to the ACS. Hard Rock has raised more than $1 Million Dollars to fight Cancer during the last nine years, it was noted. Like at last year's event, for a $100 donation one was invited to be photographed smashing - that's right, a pink guitar! Sort of like The Who's Pete Townsend.

Purple robots towering at least seven feet tall added color to the already festive occasion.

Piquant sights highlighted the picturesque Riverwalk and the iconic Las Olas Boulevard, dotted by yachts, café patios and verdant foliage. Air temperature seemed to be in the mid-seventies, but veered into the mid-eighties by late morning. Participants partook of cold bottles of water handed out at intervals along the 3-mile route.

At tribute boards people could post a message on a card, free of charge, honoring their loved ones who had succumbed to Cancer.

Here are a few of their comments:

"WE Florida Financial is dedicated to giving back to the community and raising awareness about Breast Cancer," according to Hayley Campbell, Community and Social Media Specialist.

The Mijet family: Sharon, Nadine, Yvonne, Joy, Pat, Wayne, Arlene, Migie: "Lost Mijet Lee Roberts on July 7th, 2022 after a difficult struggle. Gone too soon. In our hearts forever."

Brittany Balom and Courtney Myles, the "Butterfly Girls," from Miramar had pink wings on. "Supporting my mom!" Brittany commented.

Kristie Wilcox: "Breast Cancer affects us in many ways & more than one! Outfit Training supports BCA Month!" - Outfit Training Success Manager.

John Pean Pean from Miami, Florida, noted he was there to "support a friend who is in Remission."

Scoutmaster, Andres Alvarez, "We're excited to be returning for our sixth year as Presenters Of The American Flag. This event, in my opinion, is the most important to help support our fight against Breast Cancer in our community. We're blessed to be a part of it."

Our canine population was well represented. Big and small, feisty and sheepish, Poodles, Chihuahuas, German Shepherds and more! This reporter had the privilege of having his devoted Siberian Husky-Mix, Daisy, walk with him. Last year Daisy, to be 13 on November 22nd, had met a "sweet" lookalike named Brownie. Today she met Max and Nanook. Hopefully, this is not her "last Hoorah, "at a Walk-A-Thon. People love her and vice-versa!

Rebecca said of her eight-year-old Siberian Husky, Nanook, "she's a funny person."

Upon leaving, a few blocks away from the park a disc jockey on the sidewalk was playing festive music. Walking past, a hit song from the 1970’s piqued my attention.

"We are family" by Sister Sledge. Yeah, we are family. How appropriate!

To donate visit go to: https://secure.acsevents.org/site/STR?pg=entry&fr_id=103149 or visit https://secure.acsevents.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=strides_donate_now&FR_ID=103149 to make a donation or mail a check to: American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Broward, Post Office Box#: 17127 Tampa, Florida. 33682 (Write In Memo “Broward Team Ira”)

Your money helps the American Cancer Society fund groundbreaking Breast Cancer research, provide FREE information, support and help prevent Breast Cancer and find it earlier when it’s easier to treat. Your donation will truly help save lives. Donations are accepted through December 31st, 2022.