Irvington holds successful Breast Cancer Walk

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IRVINGTON, NJ — The Irvington Department of Health and Senior Services organized its 10th annual Breast Cancer Walk at Irvington Park on Saturday, Oct. 16, back after a hiatus last year due to COVID-19. COVID-19 testing and vaccines were also available for residents who wished to get tested or vaccinated. Walk participants were encouraged to donate funds for breast cancer research online at https://fundraise.nbcf.org/give/251086/#!/donation/checkout, https://www.komen.org/how-to-help/donate/ or https://www.cancer.org/involved/donate.html

Sonia Whyte, director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, said she was pleased that the walk moved to Irvington Park this year, rather than being held on Irvington roadways. According to Whyte, approximately 25 people attended this year’s event.

“Over the years, the Breast Cancer Walk was organized by the fire department,” Whyte told the Irvington Herald on Oct. 19. “The health department wanted to collaborate with the fire department to support the event. This was the first year the Breast Cancer Walk was held at Irvington Park. However, we know exposure to nature improves psychological and social health. Parks help build healthy, stable communities.”

Traditionally, participants of breast cancer walks are required to walk a set distance to support the research, funding and the search for a cure for the disease that has caused the deaths of many women across many demographics within the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, women in the United States have a 13-percent chance of developing breast cancer in their lives. The ACS estimates 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in U.S. women in 2021, as well as 49,290 new cases of ductal carcinoma in situ, which is an early stage of breast cancer, and 43,600 women will die from breast cancer this year.

Not only do the walks raise funds for research, but participants often honor loved ones who have passed away from the disease, who are currently battling the disease or who survived their fight with the cancer.

“We encourage people to follow the path around the park,” Whyte said. “It’s hard to estimate (the distance we traveled this year compared to in previous years), but I would say it was relatively close to other years. We encouraged all participants to donate online to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.”

According to Whyte, with October traditionally being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, during which individuals are encouraged to wear the color pink, events such as Irvington’s Breast Cancer Walk are immensely important.

“What makes this event significant is this is our way of celebrating and honoring those living with and those that survived breast cancer, along with the many caregivers and their families,” Whyte said. “Breast Cancer Walks should continue because it is essential to educate the community on prevention and detection of this disease. Self-breast examinations, annual mammograms and access to health screenings are critical in the fight for a cure for breast cancer.

“As COVID-19 has taken priority, we must remain diligent and steadfast in finding a cure for this disease,” she continued. “We cannot take our feet off the pedal, and that is why it is important to continue having these walks and activities for breast cancer awareness.”

Photos Courtesy of Tony Vauss

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