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Organizers, participants ready for Breast Fest

February 27, 2013
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

The organization From Our Hearts is seeking the community's support for Breast Fest 2013, so it can continue to provide services for the Pine Island community.

Karen Washburn, From Our Hearts president, said the organization's mission is to provide breast cancer screening and treatment for Pine Island residents who cannot afford the care.

The organization has provided services to 90 people since Breast Fest 2012, which includes 83 mammograms, 16 ultrasounds and chemotherapy for one woman.

Article Photos


Once the tape was cut during last year’s Breast Fest, the walkers were off on either a mile or 5k run/walk to raise money for From Our Hearts.

A cancer survivor of almost four years, Katie Kirk, was fortunate enough to receive help from the organization after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She was 24 years old, going on 25, when she was diagnosed.

Kirk was misdiagnosed for a year before a doctor finally found two tumors in her left breast due to her unwillingness to give up when she knew something was wrong.

Fact Box

If You Go

What: Breast Fest 2013

When: Saturday, March 9,

registration begins at 7:30 a.m.,

walk at 8:30 a.m.

Where: Pine Island Center

at Phillips Park

Registration Fee: $30, includes



"It was diagnosed as an abscess," she said. "I kept telling everyone there was something there."

Kirk said she does not want anyone to ever second-guess themselves.

"I want them to seek out help if they think there is something wrong, if they feel they need a mammogram and need help," she said. "I want them not to settle, strive for the best and don't second guess yourself and always fight like a girl."

Kirk had nine treatments of chemo and 43 treatments of radiation.

"I like to talk and give everyone my story," she said. "Not everyone knows about From My Hearts. I was one of the lucky ones that got help, I'm very grateful for everyone helping me on the island."

Once her treatments concluded, Kirk had reconstruction surgery, which left her with a skin infection that caused deep wounds in her chest.

"They were like holes, they were deep and inches long," she said, adding that it was not painful, but rather weird looking.

An antibiotic was given to Kirk first before they provided her with a wound vac. She said a sponge was put into her wound that forms a vacuum and sucks all the bad stuff out so it can heal from the inside out.

The treatment helped and now she is doing better, which began another journey, a weight loss challenge. Kirk has lost 44 pounds through working out and eating well.

"I'm going to continue to work out and eat well," she said, adding that her doctor told her "it is a good way to keep cancer away and keep it gone."

The first time Kirk participated in the walk was a year before she was diagnosed. She continued to participate in Breast Fest during her treatment as well.

"Ever since I have been diagnosed, I have been going," she said of Breast Fest.

This year, as a tribute to her turning 30 years old a week after Breast Fest, as well as being cancer free, she plans on running the entire 5k.

"I am kicking this off as a birthday, cancer free celebration," Kirk said.

Breast Fest, she said, is an excuse for everyone to get together for a huge party to raise money for people who need assistance.

"That is kind of how I think of it in my mind," Kirk said. "A get-together for all the survivors and raise money for people that have breast cancer and need help to get treatment."

The money raised during Breast Fest will support Pine Island residents, due to From Our Hearts being an all-volunteer organization.

The 12th Annual Breast Fest will take place Saturday, March 9, with a 5k or one-mile walk kicking off at 8:30 a.m. Registration will be held at 7:30 a.m. The fee to participate is $30, which includes a T-shirt.

"Come out and walk, or support a walker," Washburn said. "Honor someone in your life who has been touched by breast cancer."

Registration forms can be found at

The walk will begin at Pine Island Center at Phillips Park and then travel around the library and through the Nestings neighborhood.

The awards ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. She said prizes will be given for walkers and teams who raise the most money, as well as a free walker raffle for those who walk.

Once the walk is completed, the festivities will include 50/50 drawings, craft vendors and silent auctions. The chance drawing for the 2013 Chevy Spark will be drawn between 11 a.m. and noon the day of the walk.

Tickets are $25 a piece and the person does not have to be present to win the car. There are a total of 1,500 tickets available.

In addition to the festivities, the Mobile Mammo Bus will be at Breast Fest to provide women with the opportunity to have their screenings done. Those interested can call 239-936-4068 to make an appointment.



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