It is officially Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means there are pink events taking place all over the country. One of the biggest series of breast cancer awareness/fundraising events in the country is the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks. The first Making Strides walk step off this Saturday morning and they will continue every weekend throughout October. These walks raise a ton of money for the American Cancer Society and its breast cancer specific programs, which I think we can all agree is definitely a cause worth supporting!
About Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
Making Strides was started in 1984 by Massachusetts cancer survivor Margery Gould Rath, who wanted a way to celebrate her fellow survivors and to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Her first event, which Margery dubbed a “move-along-a-thon”, was held in Boston and featured 200 participants. The Boston Making Strides event continued to grow and in 1993, it was formally rebranded as the “American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer”. Since then, more than 8 million walkers have taken part in Making Strides walks all over the country, raising more than $460 million dollars in the process.
Per their website, the funds raised by Making Strides are used by the American Cancer Society to fight breast cancer on four fronts:
- Helping people to stay well by taking steps to reduce their personal risk for breast cancer and getting the appropriate screening in order to catch breast cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable.
- Helping people fighting breast cancer today to get well by providing free information and services including transportation, lodging, wigs, support programs, financial assistance and more.
- Helping to find cures for breast cancer by investing in cutting edge cancer research.
- Fighting for all women through the ACS CAN Advocacy program that is working to ensure that all women have access to mammograms and to encourage lawmakers to pass laws related to the fight against breast cancer.
Each Making Strides walk ranges in distance from 3 to 5 miles and is generally free to take part in (some local events may have a nominal registration fee to cover costs). There are no fundraising minimums, and even those who can’t afford to make a donation to ACS are encouraged to come out and show their support for the Making Strides effort by taking part in these walks. And you can register even on the morning of the event, which means that there’s still time for you to get involved, even for the walks this weekend. So, given all of that, if you live in one of the cities hosting a walk, you pretty much have no excuses left for not at least trying to take part!
About the Atlanta Making Strides Events
This year, there will be not just one, but TWO Making Strides walks here in the Atlanta area:
- Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Atlanta: This event is a 3.1 mile walk that will take place at Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta on October 6th. Registration opens on the day of the event at 7:30am, or, if you’d prefer not to wait, you can register now online here. The walk itself starts at 9am. There is no registration fee for this event, so Atlanta friends, you better get out there and walk!
- Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Marietta: This event is a 3.1 mile run/walk that will take place at Glover Park on the Square in Marietta, GA on October 27th. Registration opens on the day of the event at 7am or, again, you can register now online here. This run/walk starts at 8am. It is free to register to walk this event and costs $25 if you plan to run.
Not only is this the first year that I can remember there being two Atlanta-area Making Strides events, but it’s also the first time that the event hasn’t conflicted with the Atlanta 3-Day for the Cure. I’ve always wanted to take part in a Making Strides race, but I’ve either been out walking or cheering on my fellow walkers at the 3 Day that weekend and couldn’t do both. I can’t make it to the Atlanta walk this weekend because of a family wedding (congrats Robyn and Colin!), but I’m going to try my hardest to make it up to the Marietta walk. Heck, maybe I’ll even run it. Who’s interested in joining me?
Of course, Making Strides walks aren’t just happening in Atlanta. There are also events in and around Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York/New Jersey, and San Diego, all during the month of October. Just click your city name of choice and you’ll been taking to a list of events for each region. You can also find general information about Making Strides on their main website, here, and on their FAQ page, here.
Much like the Race for the Cure events that Komen for the Cure puts on, I think Making Strides is an ideal event for all levels of breast cancer advocates. Whether this is your first pink walk or just a short breather in between your countless marathons and multi-day walks, this event is a chance to meet fellow advocates, support a great cause, and get some exercise in the process. And, with no registration fees, there’s no financial pressure to donate more than you’re comfortable giving. Really, what do you have to lose?