ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Sunday, 15,000 people came out to Washington Park in Albany for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and organizers say this event is crucial to help patients who have been diagnosed. Lizzie Hunter, Director of the Capital Region American Cancer Society, said the event is not just about spreading awareness, but the funds raised do get reinvested back into the Capital Region.
“The funds that we are raising today, and all year round, really are so essential to the services that we’re able to provide and research that we’re able to fund,” Hunter said.
The event was also filled with inspiring stories from survivors and caretakers like Sharon Fagan. She has a family history of breast cancer, and even though she was never, diagnosed-she does make sure to get tested whenever she can. Right now, she is a caretaker for her wife. Her wife does not have breast cancer, but she does have a rare form that still requires treatment.”
“My wife has been ill for over a year, and it’s a rare form of cancer,” she said. “And she is having major surgery tomorrow… and that’s life. And we just keep moving forward.”
So far, the American Cancer Society has been able to fund an $800,000 research grant to Albany Medical Center due to events like these, along with providing programs to help patients with transportation to the hospital for treatments or doctor appointments.
But organizers say it’s important that everyone knows that breast cancer affects both women and men.
“We do see a much smaller rate, but there are absolutely still men that are impacted by breast cancer,” Lizzie Hunter said. “So, no matter who you are and no matter what age you are. Know your body. Be an advocate and speak to your doctor. And if you think that you are feeling off or you feel something, definitely talk to your doctor and be an advocate for yourself.”
Organizers also reported that the death rate from breast cancer has dropped by 42% from 1989 to 2019. And that may be due to earlier detections through increased awareness and mammogram screenings, along with advancements in treatments.