Knoxville’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer didn’t just exceed expectations, it astounded everyone involved. Last year’s walk raised about $132,000. The goal for this year was $150,000. Instead, the American Cancer Society raised $250,000. Star 102.1 is the radio sponsor for Making Strides, which gave me the opportunity to serve as emcee for the event on Sunday.
My wife and her friend Mary helped add to the total with their team, The Jere and Mary Show. Some of the team names were more outrageous. One of the most clever was Hakuna Ma TaTas.
Amy Fields of the American Cancer Society was actively tweeting during the event. At one point I spied her sitting partially under the stage, near the deejay equipment, recharging her phone while she sent out more tweets. I was deeply complimented by a tweet she sent from the Making Strides account:
— Strides Knoxville (@MSABCKnoxville) October 6, 2013
As emcee, I stayed behind while the 3,000 participants walked or ran the 5k course. I suppose I could have walked too, as long as I could somehow be the last to leave and the first to return. While the walkers were gone, volunteers decorated World’s Fair Park with balloons and set out donated food items including bottled water, fresh fruit and cupcakes. They were celebrating birthdays, specifically the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society.
Deejay Tara Marie of Music In Motion played songs to keep the crowd pumped up. She and I decided on an appropriate three-song set to play when the crowd returned. The first two songs were a message to survivors, the third was a message to cancer. She played “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson and “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” by P!nk.