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Carroll County News

Mount Airy Making Strides walk set for Oct. 19

When the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk debuted in Mount Airy in 2011, Wendi Peters was part of the Mount Airy Town Council and wanted to get personally involved because her mother is a breast cancer survivor.

"I was incredibly proud that Mount Airy was able to hold the walk and to raise money for such a worthy cause," said Peters, whose term ended in May 2012. "I formed a team in the very first year of the walk and were walking in my mom's honor."

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Just months after participating in the 2011 walk, Peters received a call back about a routine mammogram, with the doctors wanting to see her right away.

The tumor was small, but the digital diagnostic mammography had found it, and it required action.

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Peters had a double mastectomy in May 2012, and because the tumor was found to be an estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor positive, she also received a hysterectomy to stop her body from producing estrogen.

In total, she had seven surgeries, she said, but thanks to a biological study of her cancer, it was found that chemotherapy would not be beneficial and hence was unnecessary.

"My course of treatment was very different [because] my cancer was caught very, very early," Peters said. "Everybody's fight is a little bit different. I feel incredibly blessed that I am strong, I am healthy — it is way behind me as far as I'm concerned — but I do feel I have an obligation to work for the benefit of others."

Peters has taken part in every Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk since the event started, and this year has a goal of raising $3,300. She will be walking with a team of friends and family dubbed "Wendi's Warriors," walking a distance of three miles in Watkins Park on Oct. 19 with the other 650 participants registered for the walk.

Katelyn Mock, of the American Cancer Society, said the walk has a record number of teams registered this year, with the roster at 88 as of Oct. 7, and the American Cancer Society hopes to raise $100,000.

Last year's walk in Mount Airy raised about $80,000, she said, and was part of $490,000 raised by the total four walks in Maryland.

"The purpose of the event is to raise funds for breast cancer research and for support programs," Mock said.

Some of those programs include "Reach to Recovery," which pairs newly diagnosed patients with survivors and walks them through that process, and the "Look Good … Feel Better" program, in which cancer patients can be provided with wigs and get matched up with a cosmetologist to show them how to care for themselves during chemo and other treatments, Mock said.

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With 1 in 8 women getting diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in their lives, nearly everyone knows a woman who is a breast cancer survivor, Mock said, and being a part of the walk is a way to show those loved ones your support.

The day is also framed as a celebration of life for breast cancer survivors, she said.

"Once you are diagnosed with breast cancer, first of all, you are a survivor, so we just really try to recognize that," Mock said. "We're really just trying to bring everyone together."

Peters said while the fundraising aspect of the walk is important, the breast cancer awareness side is important to her as well.

"It sounds crazy because breast cancer awareness has increased a lot, but you would be surprised the number of people I have talked to since my diagnosis who put off their mammograms, hate their mammograms, don't want to deal with a mammogram, don't have time for a mammogram," Peters said.

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"And what I try to impart to those people is what a difference my course of treatment and hopefully how much longer I'll live cancer-free was a result of early detection."

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All are welcome to take part in the Oct. 19 Making Strides cancer walk, whether as a team or an individual, Mock said, but everyone is asked to register ahead of time through the website http://www.MakingStridesWalk.org/MountAiryMD. There is no set registration fee, Mock said, but whatever participants can raise in donations will be welcomed.

If you go

What: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

When: 10 a.m. Oct. 19

Where: Watkins Park, 615 Center St., Mount Airy

For more info or to register: Visit http://www.MakingStridesWalk.org/MountAiryMD


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