By Alex Robinson
More than 5,000 walkers strolled through Flushing Meadows Corona Park Sunday morning to make strides for breast cancer research.
The American Cancer Society organized the 3-mile walk, which raised more than $420,000 for research.
“What we do here today helps us raise funds for clinical programs,” said Victor Quintana, a board member of the organization’s Making Strides Queens group and a Bayside resident. “It’s important to support the cause on a local level.”
The event was one of many that happened in parks all across the five boroughs to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.
Survivors, friends and family marched through the park, starting at a point across from the Unisphere.
Debbie Hamilton, of Long Island, was among them.
When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, Hamilton had to travel to California to have a test, which determined it would not be beneficial for her to have chemotherapy because of the type of breast cancer she had. She then had to have surgery and six weeks of radiation treatment.
“I want people to know it is possible to survive,” she said.
She credits the technology that enabled that determination to be made with research money that comes from fund-raising events like Making Strides.
“I would like to make it so this walk is not a necessity in the future and that when my grand daughter grows up, this will be a thing of the past,” she said.
Hamilton had marched in Making Strides walks for years before she became a benefactor of the money that is raised by the organization
Fran Holzman, of Kew Gardens, had also long been involved with raising money for breast cancer research before she was diagnosed in 2007. The cause has always been of personal importance to her as her mother and grandmother both died from the disease. She recalled doing a walk down Queens Boulevard with her mother for cancer research before she succumbed to her illness 15 years ago.
Holzman said the events have value as educational tools in addition to raising money.
“It helps spread awareness that it’s out there,” she said of the event. “It’s important to get yourself checked out and to take preventative measures.”
More than 300 communities took part in the walk nationwide Sunday, hoping to spread hope to those struggling with breast cancer.
“It’s not a death sentence,” Holzman said. “You can get better with the right treatment. If you need help dealing with it emotionally, there are places you can go.”
Reach reporter Alex Robinson by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4566.