By Sadef Ali Kully
The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, run every October by the Queens Chapter at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, has been postponed until next month due to scheduling conflicts with the New York Mets playoff games.
But there is an upside to the delay.
“Everyone has more time to raise money. The schools were relieved to have the extra time since they just had all those holidays,” said Michelle Becker, director of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’s Eastern Division. “Our volunteers and survivors are just as diverse as the borough.”
The Making Strides walk brings together breast cancer survivors, supporters and loved ones for an estimated 12,000 walkers in Queens each year. The walk was moved to Sun., Nov. 8, from Sunday, Oct. 18.
In Queens, more than 1,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past year and over 4,000 women across the city, according to the state Department of Health’s Cancer Registry.
In the United States, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, according to the American Cancer Society.
“We consider someone a survivor from the day they are diagnosed,” Becker said.
This year there are more than 400 teams and the Making Strides walk has already raised an estimated $100,000. Last year, the Making Strides walk raised almost $700,000 and this year the goal is to reach about $800,000.
There are American Cancer Society offices in Flushing and Kew Gardens.
Each office offers a range of services from understanding basic facts about cancer to which cancer treatment trials are leading in the medical industry.
“The funds we raise go back to the community and most of our funding comes in on the day of the walk,” said Becker, who pointed out the funds go to services in both Queens-based offices.
Some of the services the American Cancer Society provides include the Road to Recovery Program, which provides transportation to and from treatment and related medical appointments for people who have cancer and do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves, and the Hope Lodge Network, which offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when receiving treatment away from home for up six months or more, depending on the case.
“The Hope Lodge is right in Midtown Manhattan and in a sterile, communal environment,” Becker said.
To help cancer survivors overcome their physical changes and get emotional support, programs such as the Look Good Feel Better Program help cancer patients improve their appearance and self-image by teaching them hands-on beauty techniques to manage the appearance-related side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The Reach to Recovery Program helps people cope with their breast cancer experience through counseling, guidance, and support.
“My favorite is the Look Good Feel Good program,” Becker said. “Once a month, women come here in a somber mood and they spend one-on-one time with a licensed beautician and leave with their faces lit up with smiles. It is a great reminder of why I love my job so much.”
The American Cancer Society also invests in breast cancer research to better understand, prevent, find and treat the disease. Its investments have led to establishing mammography as the standard for breast cancer screening.
The Cancer Action Network lobbies powerful legislators to pass laws to help fight cancer and rallies communities and businesses worldwide to join the fight, such as teaming up with CVS pharmacies to stop selling cigarettes.
The delay was due to the national baseball playoffs, with the New York Mets likely to be facing a team at home on Oct. 18. The Mets will also host Bark in the Park event with dog lovers, fleece blanket giveaways and a chance for Mr. Dash, the Mets mascot, for young children Oct. 3-Oct. 4.
Registration for the Nov. 8 Strides event starts at 8 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
Reach Reporter Sadef Ali Kully by e-mail at skull