This past Saturday, Oct. 14, East Lansing community members, breast cancer survivors and Michigan State University students attended the 25th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at the Michigan State Capitol.
Attendees gathered in pink apparel to show support for people who are battling, surviving and thriving, or currently living with, breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women; in 2023, an estimated 297,790 cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Diagnostic cases for in the U.S. for breast cancer in men, though rare, is estimated at 2,800.
At 10 a.m., pre-program activities began with group photos on the capitol steps, speeches from survivors and thrivers and tents set up with donuts, coffee and breast cancer awareness merchandise sales.
The non-competitive walk began at 11 a.m. and followed a loop around the Capitol and Michigan Hall of Justice, spanning three kilometers.
News 10 WILX anchor and reporter Ann Emmerich for News 10 WILX spoke about how the breast cancer walk impacted her.
“I've been here for the past 8 or 9 years, and it's so inspiring to see the survivors and people ... touched by cancer come here and share their stories and their fellowship,” Emmerich said. “It's just very inspiring to me to see it, because they're just such strong people."
Breast cancer thriver Carly Meckstroth said this walk was particularly emotional for her. This was her first walk since her diagnosis at the age of 34, Meckstroth said.
“I didn't really have time to feel," Mecksroth said. "I'm still processing everything now. At that point it was, 'what did we have to do to get it done?' To be able to live through year 35 is an emotional rollercoaster but I'm grateful ... lots of crying."
Breast cancer survivor Cindy Woods said the walk was an opportunity to show support for those affected by breast cancer.
"It's emotional being a breast cancer survivor myself, just being able to have hope," Woods said. "Hope for a cure, and hope for others going through it right now."
Emmerich said Making Strides Across Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society raised over 20,000 dollars through events like walk to go towards quality care programs and research for breast cancer victims.