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Making Strides Against Breast Cancer In Pensacola

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  The American Cancer Society of Pensacola will host its 12th annual Making Strides for Breast Cancer 5k walk this Saturday, October 25th in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Registration begins at 7 am and the event kicks off at 8 am at Cordova Mall.

Making Strides is the largest Breast Cancer Awareness event in the nation and unites nearly 300 communities to finish the fight against breast cancer. Ashlee Hudnall is the Making Strides Vice Chair for Pensacola, " It is a great event; it has really blown up over the last few years. We’ve gone from a $30,000 event to now over a $450,000 event. We have over 15,000 people that attend the walk. It’s a very powerful movement that Pensacola makes every year now."

Hudnall says the event begins at Cordova Mall and the route continues down past the airport in large circle and finishes right back where it started. She says the city has had great representation in the past from city officials to local businesses that make the event a success and currently there are 399 teams registered for the walk and more are expected, " We’ve really had a large gross in early team sign up this year. We are really at this point only about 29 teams away from our goal for this year so we definitely expect to see quite a few newcomers show up the day of the event and sign up as a team which is always welcome."

In addition to the Pensacola walk, several other Making Strides events are taking place across the region this weekend including one in Mobile, which has raised over $103,000 to date and another in Panama City, with their fundraising efforts  reaching close to $58,000.

And, the Emerald Coast event was held last weekend at Uptown Station in Ft. Walton Beach, "It was just an amazing site to see the sea of pink going down Eglin Parkway. It was awesome."

Diane Maldonado is the (ACS) Sr. Representative for Community Engagement in FWB. She says 134 teams and close to 5,000 people decked out from head to toe took to the street for the event and raised about $93,000 so far.

Maldonado says although the cause itself is a serious subject, the atmosphere of the walk is festive and is meant to be a celebration of the survivors while fundraising one dollar at a time to keep the momentum going for finding a cure, "We’ve made so many strides, actually that’s why it’s called Making Strides, we’ve so many strides towards finding a cure and towards ending that disease we want it to be festive we want to celebrate the survivors. They are our VIPs so to speak."

Over the years, the Making Strides campaign has been extremely effective in providing breast cancer awareness. And, Ashlee Hudnall says people really support the ACS because they know where the money is going, "They know how the funds are being dispersed. They know that it’s not only going toward research to find a cure but also very important resources for people that are managing breast cancer, families that are supporting their loved ones that are going through the process of breast cancer. We have our local American Cancer Society that provides a lot of resources locally including the bra closet, the wig closet, providing rides to patients to be taken to treatment or doctor’s appointments. This money is put to good use. It definitely makes and impact locally to Pensacola and nationally throughout the different research programs that it funds."

The event is a pretty lively and Hudnall says people really seem to get into it," We definitely encourage everybody to come as pink as they possibly can whether that be a little bit of pink glitter or a pink bra on top of your shirt. We’ve seen all kinds of great participation from Pensacola. They really get dedicated to showing up in pink style, especially our men. We love to see our men in pink bras or pink sparkly shoes, whatever they are brave enough to show up in."

The upcoming event is shaping up nicely, minus just a few essential last minute preparations, including picking up doughnuts and setting up a few of tents.

For more information or to sign up for the Making Strides walk go to: makingstrides.acsevents.org