Hoping to make strides

STEUBENVILLE – Jefferson County will be “making strides” later this year in hopes of fighting one of the top health concerns of women today – breast cancer.

For the first time in Jefferson County, the American Cancer Society will hold a Making Strides Against Breast Cancer noncompetitive 5K walk Oct. 4 at Historic Fort Steuben in hopes of raising $42,000 exclusively for breast cancer research, programs and patient services.

The walk for teams and individuals begins at 10 a.m. with registration at 9 a.m.

But there’s much to be done before that fall date rolls around, according to Barb Wilinski of Steubenville, event chairman, and Kyle Elder of Knoxville, ACS staff partner.

Specifically, the two are part of a committee that meets monthly to plan the event and recruit volunteers, team captains and participants with an event kickoff breakfast on the calendar for Aug. 8 at Froehlich’s Classic Corner, beginning at 8 a.m.

“This inspirational/informational breakfast is open to anyone who is interested in becoming involved with Making Strides,” Wilinski said of the kickoff that will detail how people can get involved.

The subject also will be broached come Wednesday, the next meeting of the volunteer planning committee at Eastern Gateway Community College. It begins at 6 p.m. as will other meetings set for Aug. 6, Sept. 3 and Oct. 1 at the same location. Anyone is welcome to attend.

The ACS Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the largest network of breast cancer awareness events in the nation, “uniting nearly 300 communities to finish the fight against breast cancer,” according to Elder.

Normally, the walks are held in metro areas but the local area is a pilot event in a smaller setting.

“These happen in areas where there is a serious outpouring of support for breast cancer research. We are looking to get as many people included in the fight, so we’re expanding our efforts and territories to various communities across the nation,” said Elder, whose ACS job involves working to organize and recruit three Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks in Ohio. In addition to the new Jefferson County walk, Elder is overseeing committees for the event in Canton and one in the Youngstown/Canfield area.

“I’m working in the community to spread the word about the committees, looking for potential sponsors/team leaders and always looking to engage breast cancer survivors. Men, women and children are encouraged to participate in the events,” he said.

“It’s important for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer to come to this area because this area, unfortunately, has one of the highest occurrences of cancer in the state of Ohio,” Elder said. “Breast cancer also has a very high occurrence, and through the programs and services with ACS in the community, we helped close to 70 women in their time of need in 2013. The event is all about raising awareness and funds to go toward breast cancer research, which has a strong commitment in the area compared to other types of cancer,” he added.

All funds raised from the event are restricted to breast health programs, services and research, according to Wilinski.

“This event is new to the Jefferson County area and surrounding communities, and the American Cancer Society is asking for those within the community with a personal tie to breast cancer to step forward and help in the planning for this event,” Wilinski said.

“It will be a chance to honor the breast cancer survivors in our lives, reflect on those we’ve lost and fight back against a disease that has taken too many,” Wilinski said.

Individuals interested in joining the 2014 planning committee or forming a team and becoming a team leader can contact Elder by phone at (740) 544-6396 or (740) 219-0417 or by e-mail at Kyle.Elder@cancer.org.

Wilinski can be contacted by phone at (740) 632-7364 or (740) 282-2161 or by e-mail at bjwilinski@comcast.net.

Information is available on the website at www.MakingStridesWalk.org/Jefferson as well as on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with the handle @MSABCJefferson or using #MSABCJefferson.