By Naa Dedei Coleman
BU News Service
Outside the Hatch Memorial in downtown Boston Sunday, a group of six women decked out in pink outfits posed for a photo. One even dressed in a pink tutu and fairy wings. The women were one of many groups of pink-wearing participants at the 27th annual Boston Making Strides walk along the Charles River, which helps raise funds for breast cancer efforts as part of the American Cancer Society.
They called themselves Mildred’s Daughters, in memory of the late Mildred Reid, whose family said passed away from breast cancer in 1994. Led by Tamalyn Reid, Mildred’s actual daughter, the team was made up of other family members.
“We’ve been doing this for 12 years,” Reid said.
According to new research from the American Cancer Society, the number of people expected to be newly diagnosed with breast cancer could fill Gillette Stadium four times over, and the number of people expected to die could fill TD Garden twice.
“Yes, we are a fundraiser or try to raise money for the American Cancer Society,” said Theresa Freeman, communications director for the ACS. “But we’re trying to create just a really supportive community experience where everyone can feel like they’re not alone on their breast cancer journey.”
The Hatch Memorial was transformed into a Pink Village, where participants checked in for the walk and started the race. On the Hope Wall, attendees could get short strips of ribbon to write the names of people they were walking for, in exchange for a small donation, and tied the ribbon to a black net wall.
Funds raised through several events, including the walk, go towards ACS’s breast cancer research and patient services, including a 24-hour hotline and a live chat to give people more information and support after being newly diagnosed, Freeman said. ACS programs, such as the Hope Lodge centers, for people who need to travel far for cancer treatment, as well as the Road to Recovery program, which gives free rides to cancer-related treatment appointments, have also benefitted from the donations.
The American Cancer Society estimates that this year 268,000 women and 2,670 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2019 alone, the Society estimates more than 42,260 will die of breast cancer.
“No one beats cancer alone. We beat it as a community,” said Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. A cancer survivor himself, Walsh said the walk was for “celebrating survivors and remembering those we lost.”
The ACS 24-hour hotline is 1-800-227-2345 and a live chat is available on www.cancer.org.