Throughout the year, the American Cancer Society holds Making Strides of Breast Cancer walks around the country. From NJ to PA to IL, thousands of people sign up and show up to help spread the word about how to fight breast cancer and fund life-saving research.
Why? Because the more voices heard, the more money donated, the more lives saved.
On October 15th, Dr. Caitlin Innerfield traveled to Chicago to take part in a 5k Making Strides Against Breast Cancer awareness walk. Starting at Soldier Field and continuing on Michigan Ave past the art museum and towards the Loop, Dr. Innerfield walked with thousands of people cheering and chanting and all decked out in pink. Some were single walkers, others part of companies or charities, but all were there for a single purpose: for a walk to end breast cancer.
Early Detection, Early Intervention
“Breast cancer accounts for about 30% of all new cancer cases in women each year in the United States.” In 2022, it’s estimated that around 290,000 new cases will be diagnosed. 85 percent of those will occur in individuals without a family history of breast cancer. Treatment helps many, and research and therapeutics are getting better by the day, but by the end of the year, about 44,000 women will lose their fight against this terrible illness.
This is why these walks are so crucial. Setting aside donation money and funding research for one minute, if the only thing these walks accomplished was getting the word out about the importance of regular mammograms and cancer screenings, about how vital it is to ask for help if you notice something off or feel unwell, then they would still be an incredible success.
Early detection and early intervention help save lives. But these walks are so much more.
Fight Against Breast Cancer
Dr. Innerfield is no stranger to Making Strides. A breast cancer survivor herself, she walked this year in remission, wearing her survivor sash for the first time.
Dr. Innerfield’s unique perspective — as a doctor and as a patient — proves how pivotal these communal events and experiences can be. To know you’re not alone, to realize that you have the physical and emotional support of literally tens of thousands of people across the country, is akin to having the biggest support group imaginable.
Breast cancer takes a physical toll. So does treatment. But one area not often discussed in public is the emotional weight those diagnosed have to carry. These walks do a tremendous amount of good for the medical community, yes, but they also act as a lifeline to those who have gone through or those going through chemo or other breast cancer care.
As a pain specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Innerfield understands how important the mental well-being of her patients is. She knows the value of wellness, routines and goals in the face of adversity, and hope for the future.
The weather that day in Chicago was sunny with a high of 50 degrees. Starting at 9 am, people were lining the streets, ready to walk. Kids and families brought signs of encouragement. In Grant Park, pink gorilla mascots roamed the sidelines, taking pictures with anyone who wanted one nearby.
The walk itself was leisurely and enlightening. Local news around the city reported on the event. Film crews were out en masse. Everyone was excited and proud to be there, and for a few hours that morning, all felt like they were a part of something bigger.
Dr. Innerfield met Triumph Tech colleague Sabiha Malik at Soldier Field that morning. With Triumph Tech, ReclaimAbility helped raise $2,000.00 for Making Strides, adding to the $550,000.00 raised that day in total.
For Dr. Innerfield, this walk was a continuation. For Triumph Tech, the beginning. But together, they plan to keep up their collaboration, hoping to walk again and raise even more money in the future.
If you missed it — or any Making Strides walk — don’t worry. There’s still time. The Chicago donation page will remain open through the end of the year.
You don’t have to walk to help make a difference against breast cancer. Check out the links below to see how you can spread the word.
“Making Strides: Join the Movement. Fund the Future.”
The National Breast Cancer Organization