Event raises awareness, shows support for breast cancer survivors

Published 6:17 pm Monday, September 30, 2019

Breast cancer survivors took over Lafayette square Saturday morning to bond over one common goal — showing support in one another.

To kick off the morning, dozens of women and a few men started a 10-mile walk through LaGrange. 

The H.O.P.E (Helping Other People Endure) for a Day walk celebrated 10 years and 100 miles worth of walking through unity on Saturday.  The walk raises funds that support local organizations who see patients with breast cancer. The funds help pay for screenings, support and treatment.

The H.O.P.E. for a Day walk is held in conjunction with Paint the Town Pink where Lafayette Square turns pink in honor of the men and women battling breast cancer. 

Now almost two years in remission, Brenda Ross, 60, came to Paint the Town Pink to show her support for her fellow women who are fighting the disease. 

“Having the cancer was awful and the chemo and radiation made me lose all my taste buds,” Ross said. “I was diagnosed in 2012, and then went into remission around 2017. Those five years included a lot of prayer because I am a strong believer.” 

When Ross went into remission, she said all she could do was praise God. 

Charlene McClanahan, director of oncology service at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center, said all she sees is unity at the event.

“This particular event is for you women in town,” McClanahan said. “This is for every woman or man in town who has had to face this terrible disease. This is really important, so thank you for everyone who came out.” 

Mayor Jim Thornton introduced himself, Councilman Mark Mitchell and Councilman Jim Arrington as “the men in pink.” 

“This is a great looking group and a great tradition,” Thornton said. “The statement that is made clearly is support. We are all tied together. We care about other people and are tied together by pink ribbons.” 

As the walkers entered the square, the LaGrange High School band marched them in. 

An annual tradition stirred some emotions on Saturday at the end of the walk, as participants and volunteers formed a tunnel with shoes raised high for survivors to walk through while onlookers cheered them on. 

Survivors, participants and volunteers danced, laughed and a few tears were shed as co-chair Pam Herndon said a few words to finish off the event. 

“We are talking about 10 years and 100 miles walked,” Herndon said. “We are here to celebrate.” 

Survivors were all given a bottle of bubbles to blow into the wind in recognition of who they were. 

“Bubbles are clear and so full of life, like all of you,” Herndon said. “We do this for the ones who may be coming one day. Think about everyone and think about what this walk means.”