Nearly 700 St. John’s representatives participated in the 10th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. They took part in the 5-mile walk west down Queens Boulevard on Sunday.
The event, which raised money for breast cancer research and awareness, was held at Queens Borough Hall. There was a breakfast and special blessing held on campus prior to the walk. Bus transportation between Alumni Hall and the walk site was provided for St. John’s participants.
Some were walking solely to support the cause, while others like physician assistant major Tara Barnes had a more personal connection. Barnes’s aunt is a breast cancer survivor. "If it wasn’t for fundraisers like this, I don’t think she would’ve survived,"said Barnes.
This is the fourth year the University has participated in the event. So far, St. John’s has raised a total of $70,000, and over $17,000 this year.
"We’re part of the Queens community and we felt this is what we should do,’ said University Committees Co-Chair Janice Owens-Stauntoa. "It’s also part of our Vincentian mission."
More than 30 student organizations took part in the walk including Greek organizations, honor societies, cultural organizations, academic organizations, the athletic department and a host of others. "I don’t think we’ve had this many groups come out, which is nice to see," said Community Relations Associate Robert Carr.
Many people said they participated because it was for a good cause. "When you see everyone coming together to support a good cause, you forget about being tired," said Golnaz Adalbi, also a physician assistant major. Adalbi, whose friend is a breast cancer survivor, stressed the message of unity. "Everyone is so busy during the week that they don’t have time for anything," said Adalbi. "It’s good to see everyone unite to focus on a common goal."
The money raised from the Making Strides event will be used by the American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer programs and services. These services include research, treatment, testing, advocacy and risk reduction.
While the rate of breast cancer occurrences have continued to increase at around two percent a year, the rate of death from breast cancer has been declining. In 2003, it is estimated that about 39,800 women and 400 men will die of breast cancer.
After non-melanoma skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. It is also the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, exceeded only by lung cancer. According to the American Cancer Society website, an estimated 211,300 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in the United States in 2003.
Students can continue to bring in pledge forms to Newman Hall Room 155 if they have not yet done so. Also, anyone interested in being on the committee for next year’s event should call the Office of Community Relations at ext. 1941.