The American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk traces its roots to an annual walk in Boston that started in 1984. It got its name in 1993 when it expanded to other cities.
The Knoxville chapter held its first Strides in 2011. Each year, more people have participated and more money was raised. On Sunday, over 4,000 Strides participants raised $275,000, which exceeded last year’s total by $25,000.
The 2014 Strides co-chairs were Dr. Aaron Margulies and his wife Imelda Margulies MSN, FNP-BC. They both work at the Knoxville Comprehensive Breast Center. I also know them as friends from All Saints Parish. Aaron was a game show contestant during the 2014 Adult Social and Imelda was a contestant in 2013.
Amanda Hara, Kim Hansard and I were the emcees for the pre-walk ceremonies. Fr. Michael Woods delivered a non-denominational blessing that beautifully included those who have died from cancer, those who survived and those who treat them.
The University of Tennessee Dance Team performed twice. Event organizers told me to ask the band if they could play “Rocky Top” for the Dance Team. I wasn’t worried. Any band that’s ever been hired for a party in East Tennessee can probably play “Rocky Top” and they know when to pause to let the fans yell “Whoo!” Later, the dancers led the crowd in warm-up exercises to a recording of “Turn Down for What.”
The band was excellent. Diva and the Black Tie Affair called themselves “Diva and the Pink Tie Affair” for the day. A lot of people know Diva as a vocalist with Dishwater Blonde, a local R&B band that is on hiatus right now.
While the walkers were on the 3.1 mile course, volunteers set up refreshment tables stocked with bananas and granola bars. Those of us who were still there when the event ended were asked to take some of the leftover bananas. One lady selected bananas with brown spots and said she would go home and make banana pudding. I chose bananas that still had a little green on the stems. As empty-nesters, it will take my wife and me all week to eat a bunch of bananas.