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373 walk to raise funds for BreastFest

March 16, 2016
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Each year, for the last 13 years, Pine Island From Our Hearts has held its annual BreastFest. Saturday at 8 a.m., more than 300 walkers assembled at the St. James City Civic Association for the annual walk to beat breast cancer.

"Our mission is to help in the fight to find a cure for the debilitating disease of breast cancer and help those, that for one reason or another, need a helping hand," F.O.H. president Mary Scott said. "Today we are raising funds to provide breast cancer screening and treatment for any qualified Pine Island resident who is in need of financial assistance."

Scott addressed the crowd of walkers.

Article Photos

Becky Read was on hand selling her painted coconut fish.


"We have a lot of survivors here this morning," Scott said. "The survivors are all in the pink shirts. Walkers are in the green shirts. The KOA shuttle has arrived the KOA team has more than 100 members. The weather cooperated and I believe this will be a great day."

After the invocation there was a brief warmup before the walk and Garry & Kerri performed the "Fight Song" to kick off the walk.

"There are three groups that are very important to us," Scott said. "We have the pink shirts who are our fighters. The green shirts is our present and the children who help us create our calendar every year are our future. I believe someone, in one of those groups, will find a cure for this dreadful disease someday. We're so thankful that there are members of all three groups with us today."

Becky Read was there selling her painted coconut fish.

"The biggest problem is waiting for them to dry," Read said. "They're made out of coconuts and for the fins and tail I use palmetto bushes. It does take a while for them to dry out enough to paint them but they're easy to do. I'm not an artist I just enjoy making these and being here today helps From Our Hearts."

The entire day was filled with talented bands.

"All of our bands donate their time," Scott said. "Garry & Kerri are here and Idle Speed sets up about half way through our walk so be sure to thank them this morning. Throughout the day's events there will be Swamp, Strange Arrangement, BLT, Last Resort and Pain in the Grass."

Sharon Iverson was there with her husband.

"We moved to the island two years ago and love it here," Iverson said. "We missed last year for some reason so when I read in the Eagle when it was this year, I made plans to get here. I couldn't do the walk because I had knee surgery awhile ago but I can be here to support the cause. And I bought some beautiful jewelry."

One hundred percent of the funds raised will be donated to Partners for Breast Cancer Care and Regional Cancer Center/Lee Memorial Health System to be used only for residents of the Greater Pine Island area. From Our Hearts and Partners for Breast Cancer facilitate the qualification process and distribution of From Our Hearts funds to provide screening and treatment for qualified Pine Island residents.

Towards the end of the day, Scott said the day was "very successful."

"We had 373 registered walkers and raised more than $20,000," Scott said. "All of our vendors said they had a great day and I believe there will be more coming in. I'd like to thank everyone for their hard work making this a successful event - there are untold numbers of women that will benefit from this wonderful day."

From Our Hearts began in 2001 with a handful of Pine Island residents that raised funds to send a local resident to a 3-day, 60-mile Breast Cancer Walk. That initial effort started with a few local musicians playing music at the Island Hardware store in St. James City and passing the hat. Their efforts to raise more funds continued and progressed into the First Annual Pine Island Breast Fest."

The From Our Heart mission statement is "to help in the fight to find a cure for the debilitating disease of Breast Cancer and help those that for one reason or another need a helping hand."

New members to join the organization, which meets the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in the Pine Island Fire House at the Island Center.

From Our Hearts Inc. can be contacted at PO Box 356, Matlacha, FL 33993, via e-mail at or by phone at 239-233-7437.



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