Did you know that you could help thousands of people by simply taking a walk this month? October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and this year, more than ever, local patients and their families need your help. So lace up those walking shoes because it’s time for the More Than Pink Walk, an event that you can take part in from the comfort of your own home.
This year, 3,845 women in South Carolina are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer and, sadly, 678 will die from the disease. And it’s not just women; men can get breast cancer, too. Komen S.C.’s Partners in Care program helps these patients with financial aid for transportation, groceries, insurance co-pays, childcare, elder care, and things that help relieve some of that burden while you're going through treatment. Unfortunately, this year has been particularly hard on the local organization.
“COVID-19 has significantly impacted our income because events have been canceled, and donors’ focus has shifted,” explained Lucy Spears, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen South Carolina. “Komen S.C. is responsible for raising our own funds. We do not receive funding from HQ or federal grants. We must rely on the generosity of our donors.”
Social distancing makes it even more challenging to hold successful fundraising events, making their annual More Than Pink Walk even more important. “Those needs are greater than ever for breast cancer patients who might otherwise have relied on friends and family.”
The organization has shifted to a virtual “Walk Where You Are” event on October 24, which also includes Facebook Live events leading up to the walk. “Each day, we’ll have Facebook live events focusing on one of our organization’s four pillars, which are research, care, community, and action,” said Spears. “The week wraps up with survivors sharing their stories on Friday and on Saturday everyone can join us online for our opening celebration at 9 a.m.”
Then, get out and walk! Participants just have to turn on the ‘More Than Pink’ app that will track your steps, so whether you choose to walk around your house, in your neighborhood or at a local park, you are making a difference. “You also earn different badges on the app for things like action, education and even your own impact,” said Spears.
The money raised from the More Than Pink Walk helps support patients and their families in 45 South Carolina counties and fund research. “Our patient navigator is there to assist everyone, regardless of insurance status, income or where they live in SC,” explained Spears. “We also provide financial aid for day-to-day expenses and co-pays to ease the burden on breast cancer patients. Patients with incomes of 250% of the federal poverty level or below are eligible for financial assistance.
Breast cancer awareness is held for one month and the More Than Pink Walk is only for one day, but the needs of breast cancer patients and their families are year-round. The organization works within the community year-round through events and support groups, as well as their ambassador program.
“We train ambassadors in the community -- the third pillar -- to share the education and resources within their own networks, whether it's their church or their neighborhood,” said Spears.
Click here for more information on registering for the More Than Pink Walk.
“We understand that people are tired of hearing about COVID and people are tired of hearing about pink events, but that doesn’t make the needs of our families go away or any less important,” said Spears.
And October’s fall weather is a beautiful time to take a walk that can help others.