By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
An upcoming “Walk for Hope” will raise money to help breast cancer survivors.
Vidant Edgecombe Hospital is partnering with the Lotus Survival Foundation to coordinate the 2nd Annual Walk For Hope, set for Saturday, Sept. 21, on the walking track at the hospital.
“The Walk for Hope is the only breast cancer related walk that is held in Edgecombe County,” said Scott Phillips, oncology patient navigator for the hospital. “The hospital is happy to partner with the Lotus Survival Foundation. Several times a year they have healing retreats to help breast cancer survivors cope with survivorship. The money that we raise is to help pay for those retreats.”
A kickoff party for the Walk for Hope is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the T.S. Fleming Building on Edgecombe Community College’s Tarboro campus.
“The community is invited to attend,” Phillips said. At the party, participants will have a chance to pick up registration packets for the walk, hear testimonials from breast cancer survivors and enjoy a piece of cake.
“Last year’s walk raised $4,000. Our goal this year is to do a little more than that,” Phillips said. “We ask people to gather sponsorship donations and walk laps around the track.”
Phillips asks participants to walk at least seven laps around the track, which equals one mile, at a suggested sponsorship of $5 per lap. Tents will be set up for walkers who need to stop and rest in the shade.
Local businesses and health care agencies will have booths set up at the walk and a disc jockey will play music to entertain walkers. Children’s activities are planned, as well. Walkers of all ages are welcome to participate.
Phillips expressed the importance of continuing to send breast cancer survivors to the foundation’s retreats. He said he has attended the retreats and participants have told him that the retreats are a “very beneficial, life-changing experience,” and that they were able to find “comfort and friendship” with people who have had shared similar experiences. He encourages people currently in treatment for breast cancer to attend the retreats, because that’s a time when people often need the most support. A local breast cancer survivor, Claudia Aguirre, started the Lotus Survival Foundation.
Phillips attributes the county’s recent decline in breast cancer mortality rate to services offered to breast cancer survivors, such as the retreats, the oncology patient health navigation program, and the law health advisory program, a community education volunteer group that promotes breast cancer screenings.
“The Susan G. Komen Foundation had a report in 2007 indicating that Edgecombe County was No. 16 in the United States for breast cancer mortality rate,” Phillips said. “We now have less people in Edgecombe County dying from breast cancer.”
Those who are unable to attend the Walk for Hope kickoff can contact Phillips at 252-641-8313 to register for the event. Walkers also have the opportunity to register the day of the event, beginning at 9 a.m. The walk will begin at 10.