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Pink Light Walk draws survivors and supporters

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    A member of the Pink Light Walk committee hands a pink glow stick to a participant in the walk on Thursday evening in Gilbert. KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS

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    A little girl writes the name of someone she knows who has had breast cancer or is battling breast cancer on a pink ribbon sash. Participants in the Pink Light Walk in Gilbert on Thursday evening were asked to carry the ribbons with them.
    Check out the photo gallery online.
    KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS

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    Carmela Heard, a member of the Pink Light Walk committee, gets the walkers warmed up with a few exercises before they set out on their walk Thursday evening in Gilbert. The walk is held annually to raise awareness of breast cancer and the importance of early detection. KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS

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    Breast cancer survivors, those battling the disease and people showing their support set out on the Pink Light Walk on Route 209 in Gilbert on Thursday evening. The mile-long walk went down to the Gilbert Medical Center and back up to the American Legion.
    Check out the photo gallery online.
    KRISTINE PORTER/TIMES NEWS

Published October 26. 2019 06:34AM

The 16th annual Pink Light Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness was held Thursday evening in Gilbert.

More than 100 cancer survivors, those battling cancer, and those who support them came out to spread awareness of the disease. The walk began at the American Legion on Route 209, went down to the Gilbert Medical Center and circled back for about a mile.

“I think it has helped, because it brings awareness to them to go get their mammograms,” said Mariann Ferro, one of the founding members of the event.

Ferro founded the event after going to a Pink Light Walk in Stroudsburg 17 years ago with some friends. She told them she thought they could organize one, so the next year, they did.

The walkers were asked to wear pink, dress for the weather and bring a flashlight.

“Even in the rain, people show up,” Ferro said.

This time, the skies were clear and the temperatures comfortable.

“This is really close to my heart,” said committee member Carmela Heard, who has been a breast cancer survivor for 30 years. “I try to do what I can in our community for breast cancer awareness.”

Heard said the committee lost a member the year before she joined them.

Mary Sciandra died the night of the Pink Light Walk three years ago, Ferro said.

Heard said she remembers that the next year, the group sent a lantern into the sky in Sciandra’s memory.

“I could not walk away until I could not see that lantern,” she said. “I felt like it was her going back to heaven.”

Today, Heard, who is a fitness teacher for Silver Sneakers at the Western Pocono Community Library, uses her talents to lead the walkers in a warm up.

Ferro said the Pink Light Walk is not a fundraiser; it is simply to raise awareness of breast cancer. As their poster states, “Early detection is the best protection.”

As people arrived for the event, singer Jeni Hackett provided musical entertainment, and representatives from the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, Breast Friends of Pennsylvania, Relay for Life and Perfect Balance Boutique from Lehighton were on hand with information. The committee sold tickets for raffle baskets and 50/50. The funds go toward purchasing supplies for the walk, Ferro said.

Everyone was given a pink glow stick, and the cancer survivors and those fighting cancer received tiaras and pink flower leis to wear in the walk. Participants were asked to write the name of the person they were walking for on a pink ribbon sash and to carry it with them in the walk.

After getting warmed up, committee member Hope Christman thanked everyone for coming out.

“I’m not a cancer survivor, so I can’t say what you’re going through,” she said “But I can be by your side. ”

She walks because both of her grandmothers had breast cancer, as well as her mother.

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