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Breast Fest raises $20,000

March 13, 2013
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

A total of 301 individuals participated in the 12th Annual Breast Fest Saturday, which raised more than $20,000 for From Our Hearts organization.

From Our Hearts President Karen Washburn said she was very pleased with the turnout for the walk this year.

The top five walkers were Sherri Lazer, who raised $1,525; Kat Biptapani, who raised $1,203; Bev Pennington, who raised $1,200; Marjorie Vanderkruik, who raised $1,125; and Linda O'Brien, who raised $1,050.

Article Photos

From Our Hearts President Karen Washburn and Katie Kirk’s son and mother sing her “Happy Birthday” during Breast Fest . Kirk is almost a 4-year breast cancer survivor.

The top two teams were Team Palm, which raised $2,725.50, and KOA, which collected $2,420.

The most walkers to participate in this year's event was KOA with 69 walkers.

The 2013 Chevy Spark winner was also announced at Breast Fest Saturday afternoon. The winner was part-time St. James City resident and breast cancer survivor Kit Mauer.

Those who participated began their walk at Pine Island Center and then traveled around the library and through the Nestings Neighborhood and back to Phillips Park at Pine Island Center.

Spyrnal & Associates provided the water to the walkers Saturday and Yard Dog Charlie provided the music on the walk for those who participated.

The Mobile Mammo Bus was also at the event to provide women with the opportunity to have a screening done.

Once the walk was completed, many women were recognized, including many survivors.

Angela Duke, a 13-year breast cancer survivor, said she was diagnosed with stage two-breast cancer when she went for her first mammogram at the age of 36.

She said she made it through her treatments because of her very good friend, Sandy, who was her "rock."

"I knew I would be O.K.," Duke said.

The annual Breast Fest, she said, provided a sense of camaraderie, hope and appreciation of having insurance and being able to pay for insurance, as well as a concern for those who do not have insurance. Duke said she has participated in the walk since 2006 because the money assists others who need that assistance.

"I appreciate the volunteers who make it easier for us to participate," she said of the walk.

Denise Weakland, a 15-year survivor, also participated in the walk Saturday morning. She had a ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) diagnosis during a mammogram at 56.

Although the news of the diagnosis was scary, Weakland said she knew she was going to be all right once her surgeon from Karmanos Cancer Institute got up and gave her a big bear hug.

The walk Saturday meant a lot to the survivor, who participated for the second time this year.

"I am thankful I am here," Weakland said. "I see all these pink shirts and I see all these survivors and it's great."

She said she has also participated in Race for the Cure in Michigan for 17 years.

"I do a couple of those a year in Michigan," Weakland said.

Although she participates in that race of more than 30,000 people, she said she enjoyed Breast Fest because it was a little more intimate.

Six-month survivor Debbie Dearen walked for the first time this year.

"I think it's wonderful," she said. "When you stand at the tunnel, these are the people you want to see and you want to give back."

When Dearen was first diagnosed, she said although she did not know the path anymore, she could not give up control and found another path to follow.

"You know you are not alone on the path because of friends, family and neighbors," she said.

While looking around the event Saturday, Dearen said this shows what the support system does.

While she was brushing her hair she saw a lump and made an appointment to get it checked out. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 62.

Dearen encourages everyone to have their yearly mammogram done.

"They can get through it," she said of those diagnosed. "It's just a bump in the road."

She said she walked five miles in Race for the Cure in Little Rock, Ark., three weeks after she had a mastectomy.

"It's been an experience, but it's something you go through," Dearen said.

The walk also attracted many individuals who walked in honor of someone.

Bobbie Gibson said although she is grateful for never being diagnosed with breast cancer, she has participated in the walk for the past five or six years.

"I come here because it's for them," she looking around.

This year she walked two miles for Anna Milne.

"The money is going to Pine Island," she said. "That is the main thing I walk for."

Washburn said she would like to thank their sponsors. Bert's Bar & Grill, Miceli's Restaurant, Four Winds Marina and Cambio Dermatology. She said she also wants to say a special thank you to all the businesses who donated items for the raffle and silent auction.



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