EVERETT — The American Cancer Society will be “Making Strides Against Cancer” again this year, from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Oct. 20, in Everett, and event organizers and participants alike hope to recruit as many fellow members of the community as they can, to help continue the ACS’s progress in dealing with this disease.
Jerri Wood, a specialist with mission delivery for the Great West Division of ACS in Everett, explained that Making Strides aims to enlist 200 teams in meeting an income goal of $165,000 this year, and as of the last week in September, they were just shy of 90 teams who’d raised slightly more than $40,000. She elaborated that Making Strides helps fund a variety of services for breast cancer patients, including Citrine Health of Everett, which has made a mission out of providing not only free bras and breast prostheses for post-mastectomy patients, but also fittings for both.
“I met one woman who’d been using an old washrag in her bra, and she said, ‘You mean I could have had a real boob?’” Wood said. “It’s important for your spine and neck to try and maintain the weight balance that you had, and Citrine Health helps people with the paperwork, and to see if they qualify for Medicaid or Medicare.”
Another service which Making Strides helps to support is the American Cancer Society’s own “Reach to Recovery,” which utilizes cancer survivors as a resource to guide those who have just been diagnosed with cancer through the journey of dealing with the disease.
“If you’ve been a cancer survivor for one year, we can train you to be a coach to newly diagnosed cancer patients, so that they can look at you and see that you’ve made it through what they’re about to go through,” said Wood, who added that the ACS works to match survivors and newly diagnosed patients based on criteria such as their ages and types of cancer. “Being diagnosed with cancer doesn’t have to feel like a death sentence.”
Wood also touted the American Cancer Society’s “Road to Recovery,” which eases the burden on cancer patients’ families by providing patients with free transportation to treatment, as well as the ACS hotline at 800-227-2345, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer questions about treatment options and locating resources, as well as simply providing some small measure of comfort.
“We have people call at 2 a.m. who are coming up on their yearly mammograms and are worried that they’ll find something,” Wood said. “We also have a number of survivors who finish their treatments and find themselves wondering what their purpose in life is. By volunteering to give rides to other folks who are fighting cancer, they can give something back.”
In the meantime, Making Strides offers walkers throughout the region an opportunity to raise funds for all these programs, while also learning about other services, such as the Providence Regional Cancer Partnership’s Survivorship Series and the YMCA’s exercise classes tailored toward those coping with cancer.
“Besides the on-site educators, we’ll even have the American College of Cosmetology offering a two-hour class on cosmetics for cancer patients, including how to draw in your own eyebrows after your hair has fallen out,” Wood said.
Making Strides drew an estimated 1,000 attendees last year, and this year’s kickoff at the Snohomish County Courthouse Plaza, located at 3000 Rockefeller Ave. in Everett, is drawing walkers from as for north as Arlington, including Kerry Munnich, who’s chaired that city’s Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society for multiple years.
“This is our fourth year of coming to Making Strides,” said Munnich, captain of “Friends for a Cure,” an eight-member team made up of women from Arlington and Marysville. “We’re here for our friend Bobbi McFarland, a breast cancer survivor. Most of us have known each other since elementary school. The rest of us met up in middle school and high school. Point being, we’ve all known each other for a really long time.”
Munnich explained that she and her friends walk in Making Strides and Relay For Life not only to raise funds for programs and services to detect, treat, research and hopefully ultimately cure cancer, but also to raise awareness about cancer-related issues.
“We want to get people thinking about early detection, to nip it in the bud in time,” Munnich said. “Each year’s walks are powerfully emotional celebrations, and it’s one of the easiest things that you can do to make a difference, so why wouldn’t you do it?”
For more information on this year’s Making Strides, log onto its website at