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Hundreds attend Walk for Women

Oct. 29, 2012 @ 12:30 AM

HUNTINGTON -- The fall colors in Ritter Park got even more vibrant Sunday afternoon.

Yellow ponchos, green hoodies and rainbow-colored umbrellas were all used by the 300 to 400 walkers who braved the spitting rain Sunday for the 15th annual Walk for Women that raised money for the WV Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment Fund.

With a theme of "Take a Step Against Breast Cancer," the event started with rousing cheers from the Marshall University women's basketball team, who came out to support the three-mile walk that began at the 12th Street shelter and went to the Memorial Arch and back.

This was the last of five Walk for Women events that have been held around the Mountain State. Walks earlier this month were conducted in Man, Hamlin, Williamson and Point Pleasant.

"The day is dreary and cold, and words are not sufficient to thank all of you who've came out today on this yucky afternoon," said one of the organizers, Brenda Harlow, who coordinates breast and cervical cancer detection services in six counties. "Cancer doesn't care about the weather. It strikes anywhere."

Manda Gibson and Adrian Saunders were two "Mary's Maniacs" who showed up for the walk with their black T-shirts that read, "We Bleed Pink," worn in support of Gibson's aunt Mary Cooke, who has been battling breast cancer.

Cooke said she feels humbled and blessed to have such support from her family, her friends and church family at Mud River Baptist during her difficult journey.

"I was surprised that so many were here," Cooke said. "They have been my support. It's been amazing to have all the love and support from everybody. It's too bad that all of that love can't cure it."

At the walk, folks could further support the fund through a gift basket silent auction, and folks could sign an American Cancer Society petition that asks Congress not to cut funding for breast and cervical cancer tests.

Harlow said she is losing her job as coordinator after December after Congress cut federal funding to West Virginia's Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnostic and Treatment Fund by $500,000 this year.

"We screen thousands of women every year, underserved women who are between 25 and 64 and who are below the 200 percent of poverty guidelines," Harlow said.

You can find out more about the fund and the group at www.wvwalkforwomen.org or visit the WV Walk for Women event page on Facebook.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month events continue for the next few days.

From 6 to 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, The New Hits 97.9 and Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar are hosting Tips for Tatas in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month for breast cancer research for the American Cancer Society.

Seventy percent of all food sales will go to breast cancer research, and the New Hits 97.9 on-air personalities will be greeting, hosting, serving food and bussing tables that evening. Live music will be provided by Sean and Shaun, and all of their tips will also go to breast cancer awareness.

Tips for Tatas will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, at Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar, 841 4th Ave., in downtown Huntington.



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