Making Strides campus walk battles breast cancer

November 2014

Putting feet to pavement, the 9th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk got underway beneath a sunny fall sky October 28, with more than 100 people, including students, faculty and staff, taking part – all in an effort to raise money and awareness for the battle against breast cancer.

Anthony Ragosta, a senior from Troy, N.Y., takes part in the walk every year. He says when he was in high school, a classmate lost his mother to cancer. That has brought the cause very close to his heart and inspired participation in a “Coaches vs. Cancer” baseball event which he brought to the Utica campus two years back and continues again this spring. For Ragosta and other students, taking part in the Making Strides Walk is a given every year.

Making Strides walk“It’s a big event on campus,” he said. “Let’s face it, cancer has affected so many people’s lives.”

Following the walk, which was sponsored by the Wellness Committee, Student Activities, the Alumni Association and Cultural and Performing Arts Committee, participants came together for a celebratory (and healthy lunch). Gifts colored pink, the color associated with breast cancer awareness, were donated for giveaways and prizes.

The more people involved, the better chance we have to raise awareness about the benefits of screening and early detection and to provide the college community with local resources as to where they can get more information,” said Stacey Genther, chair of the Wellness Committee. “According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.”

For Lynne Browne, web coordinator and organizer of the walk, the event takes on personal resonance. In 2006, Browne was diagnosed with breast cancer and a fellow staff member started a Making Strides team in her honor. From there, the idea grew into having a walk on the Utica campus each year.

Students wore their finest pink gear, including shirts and sunglasses, as they made their way around campus. For many, the event was a way to honor a loved one.

“My grandfather passed away from cancer,” said Morgan Eberley, a junior from Utica, N.Y. “It makes me want to help raise money to fight any kind of cancer. Any way to help out and spread the word.”

The event continues to grow with each year, something Browne is happy to see. She says that the awareness that comes with this event stretches far beyond the boundaries of the Utica campus.

“There might be one student in the group that we can share information with who may then go home and share with a family member,” Browne said. “I told the group at the beginning of the walk to call or text their moms, aunts, grandmothers, other loved ones and remind them to get a mammogram because early detection saves lives.”