By Karen Frantz
Thousands of people are expected to take part in the 19th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, held by the American Cancer Society, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park this Sunday, in what is one of the society’s largest events of the year.
“It’s our biggest event in Queens,” said John Link, director of special events at the society, adding that other Making Strides walks will also take place in the other four boroughs. In all, more than 270 events will be held across the country.
The walks help raise money to support the society’s efforts to find cures and administer support programs and services for women with breast cancer and are the culmination of a major fund-raising effort that began for some people as early as May.
Link said many participants in the walk set their own fund-raising goals and ask friends and family or event businesses to donate to them in support of their breast cancer walk.
But he said some people choose to raise money in other ways, such as selling American Cancer Society ribbons or pens or by throwing comedy shows or parties and raising donations at the events. All the fund-raising efforts are under the umbrella of the Making Strides walk.
“It’s to encourage fund-raising and to make it fun,” Link said.
Some Queens vendors have also donated some items, such as a spa trip, jewelry and a Kindle Fire, which go to participants either through a raffle or if they raise more than a certain amount of money, he said.
The walk’s opening ceremony will include speeches from breast cancer survivors and sponsors of the walk. St. John’s University’s cheerleading and dance teams and pep band will also perform.
Registration, which is free, begins at 8 a.m., the opening ceremony at 9:15 a.m. and the walk at 10 a.m. The walk will begin at the carousel near the entrance of the Queens Zoo and will wind its way around the park in a 3-mile route, ending back at the carousel.
According to American Cancer Society figures, more than 226,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year and nearly 40,000 will die — including nearly 470 women from Queens.
The society says one in every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer goes to the society for help. The donations earned through the Making Strides walk help the group provide free resources, support and information to women with breast cancer and to invest in research to find treatments and cures, it said.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.