Walkers Raise Half-a-Million For American Cancer Society

October 3, 2010 Updated Oct 3, 2010 at 6:50 PM EDT

By WKBW News

October 3, 2010 Updated Oct 3, 2010 at 6:50 PM EDT


Sunday the rain and cold was no match for thousands of cancer survivors and supporters of the cause, they took to the streets of downtown Buffalo to raise money to one day find a cure for the devastating disease.

There is a new color taking over the usual orange and black of October!

"October has become really the banner month for celebrating pink," said Gretchen Leffler, the Vice President of the Western New York Division of the American Cancer Society.

And it's for good reason. Five thousand western New Yorkers taking over downtown Buffalo for the 15th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk around the city. The event kicked off Saturday morning in Niagara Square. Channel Seven was a proud sponsor of the event with our Good Morning Western New York anchors Bridget Blythe and Mike Randall getting the crowd pumped up for the walk!

"Buffalo! The walk for breast cancer!" yelled someone from the crowd.

"We're thrilled that more and more women are surviving the disease. Early detection is the key, so we encourage every woman to go get her mammogram at age 40 and to make sure she's vigilant about knowing her body," said Leffler.

Every year 1300 women in western New York are diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost 300 women in our region die from the disease every year. Those numbers hit close to home for many of today's participants.

"I'm walking today in honor of my mother who died of breast cancer," said Gina Wright.

But there are stories of hope among the crowd. Barbara and Rosemary are sisters who both beat breast cancer.

"We are sisters and we are survivors! We're here, that's the important thing...right!," they said together.

Today's event raised half-a-million dollars for the American Cancer Society to fund treatment, research and outreach programs like a 24-hour, 7-day a week cancer support phone line and free housing near hospitals for cancer patients and their caregivers, services that proved invaluable for people like Rhonda Hands,"I'm 15 year breast cancer free, thank god almighty!"

Other services Saturday's donations will be used for are free transportation to and from doctors appointments and free cosmetology sessions that teach patients how to manage their appearance with the side effects of treatment.