For the many individuals and families who have been affected in some way by breast cancer, the walk is a way to unite for a common cause and experience the hope of survivors and the comfort of others who are fighting the same battles.
On Aug. 7, Making Strides will host a kick-off breakfast at Antun’s Catering Hall on Springfield Boulevard from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. to share more information with potential participants and hand out materials for the walk to team captains.
The three-mile walk has no registration fee and no fundraising minimum. Participants can raise as much or as little as they would like, or just come to experience the atmosphere. Last year around 12,000 people participated.
According to Michele Becker, a director for Making Strides, the Queens Walk, which happens on the same day as Making Strides walks in the other four boroughs, is a particularly beautiful event in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
“The location alone is just breathtaking,” Becker said. “The park is amazing. We’re starting at the Fountain of the Planets. They’ve never started there before.”
The walk will feature entertainment from St. John’s University step team and band, a survivor tent, sponsor tents and a line of flags of hope near the finish, which will honor and commemorate the loved ones that people have chosen to walk for.
“You always find that people do this because they have a connection in some way,” Becker said. “Everybody is doing it for somebody.”
For Fran Holzman, who has been doing the walk for nearly a decade, she has a number of people that she walks for, including herself.
Holzman’s mother and grandmother both died of breast cancer, and she herself was diagnosed in November of 2007. She started doing the walk when her mother was first diagnosed in the 90s and has continued walking every year since.
“The atmosphere it creates of hope, to see so many survivors when years ago there wouldn’t be as many,” Holzman said. “It just means to me that I’m not going to die from this. And neither are a large percentage of these women. It just gives you the feeling that, ‘I’m here, I’m going to be here and you’re not going to get me.’”
Holzman, a survivor of breast and lung cancer, said her most meaningful walk was the first one she did as a survivor.
“Everybody is most active in the charity that touches them personally,” she said, “but because this is so widespread, and you hear so many stories, and because the American Cancer Society does so much in terms of research, as well as reaching out to people suffering because of it and providing all of this information, I would just say that really this is the one to support the most.”