Teams prep for breast cancer walks

Friday, October 5, 2012


Staff Writer

Sometimes, when a person is in need, it’s the simplest things that can make a world of a difference.

“The first day I went into work with no hair after my treatment, the ladies at the Merrimack YMCA asked how I was doing,” Beth Lewis, a breast cancer survivor from Merrimack said, “I told them my head was cold. The next day, I came into work to find that they had knit me a hat. I’m getting teary-eyed talking about it. I found my support group at the Y, a personal group of people. It just kind of happened on its own.”

If you are looking to make a difference in someone’s life, consider walking with or donating to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer teams. This year, the American Cancer Association is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

“All of our events are community run. The staffers are there for support. Each event is special in it’s own right,” said Ellen McCooey, director of the ACS Communications New Hampshire and Vermont division office in Bedford. “The money raised goes to free cancer support programs and services such as Look Good Feel Better, Hope Lodge, and Road to Recovery. We want people to know we have these services and where the money goes.”

Last year’s Nashua Making Strides event raised more than $175,000 for the ACS. This year, there are eight organized walks in New Hampshire, each made up of volunteer teams of cancer survivors and supporters. Each walk ranges from 3- to 5-mile courses, some running through minor obstacles such as hills and public streets.

“I’ve done other walks in the past against breast cancer, which are 39 miles. For Making Strides, anyone who can walk can participate in this event,” said Doris Lindgren, a Brookline resident and breast cancer survivor. “It requires small amount of time and doesn’t require a lot physically. It also gave me the chance to meet new people from the school system.”

Lindgren walked in Making Strides before being diagnosed with cancer is 2006. She had routine mammogram for 15 years before a radiologist detected the early signs of breast cancer.

“A new technology had been added to the radiology machines three weeks before I went in for my routine check up,” Lindgren said. “Someone was looking out for me. Had that technology not been invented, and had I not gone in for my routine exams, the radiologist wouldn’t have been able to catch the disease so early.”

Lindgren is not walking in this year’s Making Strides events, but she has donated money to Hollis’ Making Strides team, Pretty in Pink, headed by Ellen Lencsak, the school nurse at Hollis Primary School.

“It’s a parade of pink. There’s a lot of paint, funny costumes and pink dogs.” Hillary Paro, a Milford resident and participant of Nashua Making Strides, said. “My team is walking in memory of my godmother, Rosemary Corroon, who lived in Milford and worked in Nashua.”

Paro’s team is called Terry Hill Photography – a Family of Fighters. Paro’s stepgrandmother died from breast cancer in 2005. Her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, and is in remission. In 2009, her mother was diagnosed with aggressive invasive inflammatory breast cancer and is now cancer free. In 2010, Corroon, Paro’s mother’s best friend and Paro’s godmother, was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I haven’t walked in the past couple years because everyone was sick,” Paro said. “Rosemary planned to walk for my grandmother, mother and stepgrandmother before she got sick. When Rosemary died, a lot of people from where she worked at Sunnyside Acura is Nashua got involved with Making Strides.”

So far, Paro’s team has raised $2,568. Her team plans to walk at Greeley Park in Nashua on Oct. 14.

“In 2010, my mother had just finished chemo (and) radiation,” Paro said. “She, along with other survivors, were called on the stage and recognized. She also got to meet Miss New Hampshire and was given a sash. The sash now hangs up at the studio. It’s nice to recognize those who had fought.”

The money raised from these events will go to cancer support programs such as Road to Recovery, Reach to Recovery, and Look Good Feel Better. Road to Recovery coordinates volunteer drivers with cancer patients who do not have the means to travel to their medical appointments. Reach to Recovery matches recently diagnosed breast cancer survivors with trained volunteers who are also breast cancer survivors. Look Good Feel Better is a community-based free service that teaches female cancer patients techniques to combat
appearance-related side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

“It’s an uplifting time. I participated in the Look Good Feel Better program right before I was about to start chemotherapy,” said Susan King, of Nashua.

King is chairperson of the planning committee for Nashua Making Strides. She is also a member of In It to Win It, the second highest Making Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraising team in Nashua. She was diagnosed with stage IIIA breast cancer in March 2006.

“I was nervous about loosing hair and going through the treatment. They walked us through the experience; how to buy a wig, how skin and nails change. They also gave us beautiful make-up, paid for by the ACS. I felt like I had been treated to something special. That’s something I believe every breast cancer patient needs to have,” King said.

Katelyn Dobbs can be reached at 594-6549 or

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