My passion started when I began walking in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in 2013. I walked with my sister Lisa’s work team, “Business Cents” that year. I raised nearly $500 to contribute to the team’s total of $1,600.
After my first year, I continued to walk with the event as an individual walker. Since 2013, I have raised nearly $4,000. I am participating as an individual walker raising funds for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Manchester walk and I am going to ROCK THIS YEAR!
There are many reasons why I walk alongside the American Cancer Society, but there are a few very personal reasons that are close to my heart that drive me to make strides every year.
My sister Karen was diagnosed in May of 2008 with stage 4 breast cancer. She had a mastectomy in June and followed her surgery with a round of chemotherapy and 37 radiation treatments. Unfortunately, the cancer came back and metastasized to her left lung. This diagnosis required another surgery, more chemo, and additional hospitalization.
After a vicious treatment, her cancer was under control. There were times that my sister wanted to give up, but she credits the love of our family and dedication of her oncology team at St. Joe’s to aiding in her survival. I am proud of my sister Karen Bannister, a TWO-TIME CANCER SURVIVOR.
It didn’t stop there. In July of 2008, my sister Patricia Perry was diagnosed and had to have surgery followed by radiation treatment. She has said that she was able to get through because of her attitude. Radiation five days a week for six weeks sucked, but Patricia felt lucky to have caught it early when it was completely treatable.
My sisters have been through all of this. They are fighters and survivors. I feel raising funds and awareness is the least I can do for them and for all those fighting back against breast cancer.
I make ribbons for all types of cancer and their occasions. Last year I made 500 pink ribbons for the Making Strides event. I asked for donations for the ribbons and put 100% back in towards the walk. I gave the survivors that came to the table a free ribbon, I pinned it on them, took a selfie with them, and asked their name and how long they’ve been a survivor.
I put their name and the number of years on each of their pictures and posted on my Facebook page to recognize their fight.
People often ask me why I do what I do. My answer to them is I’m just doing what makes my heart smile! #doingwhatmakesmyheartsmile