Written by Phil Cerroni
By Alice Canham
Bright faces greeted me in the gloom as I approached Lake Carolyn, site of the American Cancer Society’s ‘Making Strides Against Breast Cancer’ 5K walk on Oct. 6.
Two of those faces belonged to James and MacKenzie Fann. A student at Bennett Elementary, MacKenzie is part of her Dad’s team from the McKinney WalMart store.
“This is my first-ever walk,” said James. “All the WalMarts around here are doing a big push to help support breast cancer research.”
Sallie Bowen, volunteering as a crossing guard for the event, had a personal reason for showing up.
“I’m involved because I’m a survivor, almost 12 years,” Bowen said.
“We wondered if the weather and the threat of rain would hold down the numbers,” she continued, looking at the gray skies. “But it’s turning out to be just really great, and more people keep coming.”
ACS organizers hoped that each walker at the event would take about 10,000 steps by the end of the 5K course – bringing the nonprofit 10,000 steps closer to finding a cure. Among the thousands of people seeking to fulfill that promise were countless costumed characters.
An entire energetic team posed for their group photo.
“We’re Black Girls Run!” exclaimed Scymentres Williams. ”It’s a group of African American women with chapters all over the area, including in Irving.
“We probably have about 80 people out here, all walking to support the cause of breast cancer awareness. We thought it would be an excellent idea to actually get out and do this at our monthly get-together.
“We have a lot of women in our group who are survivors, or they’ve been impacted by the disease. We’re out here having fun, but working for a great cause as well.”
Statistics indicate that one woman in eight will develop breast cancer, and nearly 40,000 women in this country will lose their fight this year.
So the ACS team is glad when someone helps them focus attention on the disease. Someone like Brad Turner, perched high atop stilts while wearing a pink tulle tutu.
“I do a lot in Grayson County with the Relay for Life over there,” said Turner, who intended to risk splinters for all of his 10,000 steps. “I got involved with this walk kind of late. Maybe next year I can do even more fundraising for them.”
Waving goodbye to admirers, he coaxed his stilts into a U turn and joined the crowd milling towards the towers of pink balloons that marked the starting line. Another bright face.
Some information provided by the American Cancer Society.