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Annual Breast Cancer Walk Raises Awareness for Early Detection & Support Services

Sep 30, 2019 12:45PM ● By Alyssa McGinnis

Celebrate survivors, honor loved ones who have lost their breast cancer battle, support those who are currently undergoing cancer care and join in helping bring attention to the importance of increasing awareness of breast cancer screenings and treatment by participating in the Spencer area Breast Cancer Awareness Walk on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 4 PM at Spencer Hospital.

“One in every eight women in the United States is at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, so it’s essential to continue to draw attention to the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices and getting routine screenings to hopefully detect breast cancer in early stages,” said Jeannette Hasley, Spencer Hospital’s Women’s Health Director.

 “The theme for this year’s event is ‘Lean On Me’ which ties wonderfully into this occasion as we typically have hundreds of people –women, men and children – gather with us in to provide support and generate awareness of breast health. You can truly feel the camaraderie and bonding among survivors, current patients, family and friends as we join together to celebrate lives and pay tribute to those we’ve loss to breast cancer,” Hasley remarked.

The awareness walk is free to attend, thanks to the sponsorships from Avera Medical Group Spencer, Avera Home Medical of Spencer Hospital, Northwest Iowa Surgeons, Abben Cancer Center and Spencer Hospital. 

“These entities not only sponsor this walk, they are all part of the unique support system provided through the Spencer medical community for patients with breast cancer,” Hasley said. “Care starts with annual health check-ups with your family medicine practitioner and routine mammograms using Spencer Hospital’s 3D technology performed by experienced, certified mammographers. If a concern is detected, patients work closely with our certified breast health navigators to access resources and information. A person’s care may involve surgery with the team from Northwest Iowa Surgeons, or treatment by the professionals at Abben Cancer Center, or both. A patient may work with the experts at Avera Home Medical to secure prosthetics and accessories. Spencer Hospital’s certified women’s health physical and occucpational therapists can provide support in regaining needed strength post-surgery or treatment, or with lymphedema management. It’s a comprehensive team effort, providing highly individualized care.”

Registration for the walk begins at 3:30 pm in Spencer Hospital’s Grand Avenue Park.  The walk will occur at the hospital, rain or shine. If inclement weather occurs, the opening ceremony will be held inside the hospital with a walking path established in the hospital’s lower level.

“In case of light rain, walkers will be encouraged to walk outdoors,” Hasley said. “It’s rather symbolic of the journey our cancer patients take – some days are pleasant and sunny, while others are rougher, yet weathered through with the support of loved ones and caregivers.”

The walk takes participants through the highly visible area of downtown Spencer. From the hospital park, participants will walk south on Grand Avenue, across the bridge, and then return to the hospital, walking north on the east side of the street.

“It is so heart-warming to see the hundreds of people of all ages who join us for our awareness walk each October,” commented Hasley.  “This event is strictly for fun and awareness so people can walk or run as far or as little as they’d like and at any speed.”

She added that while anyone is encouraged to attend and walk, a special invitation is extended to breast cancer survivors who will be recognized during a brief ceremony prior to the walk.

Participants are encouraged to wear pink. Also, special breast cancer awareness walk t-shirts are provided as supplies last. Walkers who are interested in making a freewill donation to the Spencer Regional Healthcare Foundation for Women’s Health Services or the Abben Cancer Center will have an opportunity to do so at the event.