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Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk is on Saturday

By Staff | Oct 14, 2009

Thousands of Lee County residents are expected to participate in Saturday’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk in downtown Fort Myers.
Each year the American Cancer Society hosts this walk in cities across the United States to raise funds for fighting breast cancer. Cape Coral and Fort Myers have organized their own events in the past, but starting this year the two will unite.
“To go more in line with what our motto is, we have tried to make a countywide event so people from all walks of life can come together,” said Darla Betzer, associate director of the American Cancer Society’s local chapter.
As a result of the consolidation, Betzer said organizers expect as many as 7,500 people to do the 5K walk over the Old U.S. 41 bridge and back to Centennial Park. Some participants will decide to run, but overall the event is designed to be a non-competitive walk
The event will include a breakfast buffet for cancer survivors at 7 a.m.
“It is a way to honor them in addition to the walk,” said Betzer.
Registration begins at 7 a.m., the opening ceremony is at 7:45 a.m. and the race starts at 8 a.m. It typically lasts 45 minutes, she said, followed by entertainment and live music.
The race is free and participants get a T-shirt for every $100 raised.
“After the walkers come back we have entertainment and giveaway prizes,” said Betzer.
The T.J. Kelly Band will start performing Saturday morning as walkers return to Centennial Park. Giveaways include two $500 gift cards from the Diamond District, two tickets for JetBlue Airways, one body scan from Radiology Regional and more.
According to organizers, 50 percent of the funds come in the last 10 days and they have already raised $45,000 to fight cancer.
About 60,000 Floridians participated in the 2008 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and raised $6 million, according to the ACS.
October is the 25th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The ACS reports that 40,170 women and 440 men will die of breast cancer in 2009.