‘We are walking together to fight this disease’

Today’s Making Strides Springfield Walk a chance to celebrate survival, support the cause

The whirlwind journey began in January when Sherri DeArmond first noticed a lump.

A mammogram, ultrasound and biopsy quickly followed as did a diagnosis of triple-negative breast cancer. The first round of chemotherapy was underway by mid-March and a lumpectomy in July. DeArmond then began radiation and will continue her oral chemotherapy regimen until next year.

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Needless to say, this year’s Making Strides event has a whole new meaning for the Springfield woman whose mother was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

“My mom told me ‘it is what it is, and it’s not a death sentence,’” DeArmond said. “I have had more good days than bad days. Sure I have days I don’t want to do anything, but God has brought me through it.”

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DeArmond also credits her husband, family, friends and the Springfield Regional Cancer Center for helping her get through her cancer battle. The 54-year-old is one of an estimated 268,000 women who will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the United States this year. Another 63,000 new cases of carcinoma in situ – a non-invasive and earliest form of breast cancer – will be also be diagnosed according to the American Cancer Society.

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancer. The average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12 percent – a 1-in-8 chance. But more women are beating the odds when it comes to surviving as death rates from female breast cancer has dropped 40 percent from 1989 to 2016.

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Awareness and early detection are critical and that’s where events like Making Strides come in. The Springfield walk brought together 850 participants last year and raised more than $50,000.

“The largest tent we have is the survivors’ tent,” said logistics chairperson Teresa Hawke. “Seeing them and hearing their stories, it motivates you to do this. We are walking together to fight this disease and end this disease.”

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The day begins with an opening ceremony as survivors, caregivers, men, women and children all come together to join the fight. Making Strides events are not races and participants don’t even need to finish the 5K route if they aren’t able to. It’s not about top times, it’s about the fact that “no one walks alone.”

Making Strides events make a real difference in the community. In 2018, fundraising efforts helped provide 480,000 free rides for patients to and from treatment and more than 34,000 patients received personal assistance understanding their diagnosis nationwide. More than $64 million is currently invested in breast cancer research grants.

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“We are making progress, it’s amazing what they are doing,” Hawke said. “It touches everyone, so for us to be able to participate in an event like this, to raise funds to help in the fight, is wonderful and Springfield is really making a difference.

“Let’s find this cure.”

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What: Making Strides Springfield

When: Saturday, Oct. 5, 8 a.m. check-in, 9 a.m. walk

Where: Springfield Regional Cancer Center, 148 W. North St., Springfield

Route: 5K


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