Breast cancer walk draws large crowd

Cold weather and rain over the weekend could not stop hundreds from showing up with the hope of curing breast cancer. The annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk was held Sunday morning in Kew Gardens.

The course started at Queens Borough Hall and continued along Queens Boulevard. St. John’s students met in the UC Commons at 8:30 a.m. and were transported by bus to Queens Boulevard.

Students on the Staten Island campus also participated in a walk.

According to Joseph Sciame, vice president of Community Relations at St. John’s, more than 500 students participated in the walk.

“It was a very successful day in terms of numbers,” he said. “We were very proud of our students participating despite the weather.”

Sciame said that the Queens campus raised more than $22,000 for the event. “Making Strides” raised close to $400,000 from the Queens event sthis year.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and similar events are also held at various locations across the country.

St. John’s University has been a flagship sponsor of the event, which is organized by the American Cancer Society, for nine years. The money raised is used by the American Cancer Society to fund research into the causes and treatment of cancer.

Sciame spoke onstage about the goal of the event.

“We’ve got to come together to overcome this terrible disease,” he said.

Students shared their experiences of participating in the event.

“I guess I just wanted to help out,” said senior Matt O’Leary, who was attending the event for the first time. “It’s good that some people still came out. I don’t mind a little rain.”

Some students said they did not expect the event’s high popularity on such a rainy day.

“I was surprised by how many people came out,” said Florine Smolenski. “I’m with the physician’s assistant program. I do this every year. It’s for a really good cause.”

Freshman Taryn Mondiello called the event “inspiring” and mentioned that she had attended similar events in the past.

“I have done it every year since eighth grade in Prospect Park, Brooklyn,”
she said.

Some participants even had personal connections to the event.

“I like to walk to support people with cancer,” said Paige Ingram, whose grandmother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. “I am happy that people turned out in spite of the weather.”

Marge Cashin, the event’s organizer, was optimistic about the turnout despite the weather.

“We usually get between 500 and 600 students,” Cashin said.

She made it clear that the service spirit of the University would rise above the weather.

“Vincentianism brings out the sunshine,” Cashin said.