Breast cancer survivors and their supporters walked in Lehighton on Tuesday night to promote breast cancer awareness during the fifth annual Pink Light Walk. The event was hosted by the Lehighton Area Lioness Lions Club.
After registration at the Lehighton Recreation Center, the group, almost everyone wearing pink and carrying a pink battery-operated candle, walked to the Lehighton Amphitheatre, where they heard inspirational messages from Nicole Beckett, Lehighton borough manager and honorary chairman; Mary Ann Hazel, Women's Cancer Support Group facilitator; and Linda Benner, member of the LALLC.
Beckett said that it was an honor to be speaking at the event and to be joined by the Lions, survivors and wonderful participants.
She said that after she was approached by the Lions to take on the role of honorary chairman she became more aware of breast cancer.
"Cancer has an impact," she said. "It comes in many forms and approaches us in many ways. No matter how different, we all have the same needs. We need strength and support. Our family and friends are what pulls us through. No one should have to go through the process without support."
She said that it is great to see all the community support.
"Whether you are running, walking, volunteering or being an activist, it all makes a difference," said Beckett.
She said that through research, she read survivor stories that were touched by discovery, diagnosis, treatment and beyond. She read about women's strengths and inspiration.
"Life lessons are not often easy and its clear that breast cancer teaches one very hard lesson," continued Beckett. "No one is exempt from cancer. It does not discriminate."
She said the key to survival is support, whether it is informational, emotional or practical.
"It is time to give back to those who cared for us," she said. "Give them a ride to an appointment. Help with their chores or just be a set of ears."
She noted that women are the caregivers and when cancer strikes, they are the ones who need the care.
"Today is a reminder of hope," she said. "The survivors bring this hope to us."
Also speaking was Mary Ann Hazel, a two-time breast cancer survivor. Hazel said that beating breast cancer twice has made her come to appreciate all life offers.
Hazel is the facilitator of the Blue Mountain Health System Women's Cancer Support Group.
She said she had two different kinds of breast cancer with one being more aggressive than the other but she said she had reconstruction surgery, and feels blessed that her ordeal was not as serious as many other women's.
A participant in the walk was Gerry Andrews, who also survived two bouts of breast cancer. She said having breast cancer twice was difficult, but the first time, she was supported by her mother, who also had cancer.
She said it was a whole lot harder to go through cancer treatments the second time, because her mother had passed way, but she said her family has been her best support.
In all, 15 members of Andrews' family took part in the walk.
Linda Benner, a member of the club, said that Lehighton Area Lioness Lions host the event every year to bring awareness and support to breast cancer survivors.
She also praised the quilters at the Quilted Crow, Lehighton, for donating a quilt to the club to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Cancer Foundation.
Following the comments, the group walked back to the Lehighton Recreation Center for refreshments and fellowship.