Melissa Hanson Asst. News Editor
October is breast cancer awareness month and the American Cancer Society held its 20th annual Breast Cancer Walk on the Esplanade on Oct. 14. The walk is just under six miles and, according to the American Cancer Society’s website, about 40,000 were expected to participate.
Although the day was rainy and overcast, Bostonians made their way to the Hatch Shell for the 8 a.m. start. During registration, speakers from the American Cancer Society made speeches thanking the participants for donations and showing their support.
The area was decorated with pink balloons and tents from various sponsors. Chevrolet was handing out forms to auction off a pink car. Other tents had free goodies like hand sanitizer and decorative bags. Throughout the day entertainment including singers and dancers were on stage, including Suffolk’s own a cappella group, The Ramifications. There was also an ongoing study during the day for women ages 30 to 65.
The participants were a sea of pink; even under rain coats and umbrellas, just about every person present was wearing at least a touch of pink. The event offers pink sashes to breast cancer survivors to wear while they walk. Participants enter the events in teams, and many came with painted faces and matching tee shirts to show their enthusiasm for the event and their support to finding a cure.
The walk starts along Storrow Drive, crosses the river at the River Street Bridge, continues along Memorial Drive, crosses the river again over the Harvard Bridge, and finishes at the Hatch Shell.
“It didn’t seem like five miles, it was a nice time to go out and participate in the community,” said Ryan Breslin, Suffolk senior and member of the Ramifications. The group raised money from family and friends and also sang in the Boston Common last Thursday. According to Alyssa Meers, Suffolk senior and business manager for the Ramifications, the group raised over $1,000. The Boston Duck Tours said they would match 100 percent of what the Ramifications raised, according to Breslin.
The starting line of the walk was decorated with a large banner and volunteers to cheer on the walkers. Throughout the route there were more volunteers to tell walkers what mile they were on, and to keep cheering them onto the finish line.
“I thought the fact that there were people cheering people on at check points was awesome,” said Breslin. There were occasional stations with cups of water for walkers. The American Cancer Society also puts up signs with breast cancer facts, frequently asked questions, tips for cancer awareness, and inspirational quotes from Abraham Lincoln and Dory from Finding Nemo, among others. Each mile was marked with a sign.
The community was also involved with the event. Drivers would honk their horns as they drove by and ice cream trucks were parked along the route.
The end of the walk was marked by another large banner and snack bags with chips and granola bars for participants. The largest and loudest group of volunteers was at the finish line cheering on and congratulating everyone who completed the walk.
The Ramifications were asked to sing at the event. They were on stage at 12:45 a.m. and sang four songs, three of their own and then “Happy Birthday” to honor the American Cancer Society’s slogan, “create world with less breast cancer and more birthdays.”
“Participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk was a great experience for the Ramifications…Although it was a rainy day, we had tons of fun walking with our team,” said Meers.
“It was so much fun,” said Breslin.