A large crowd wearing colorful tutus, silly bras, funny hats and pink clothing turned up to walk the Cancer Association of Havasu’s popular 17th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk/Fun Run Saturday in Lake Havasu City.
The walk’s roots wrap around Evie Cistaro, of Havasu, who has been involved and participating since the walk was launched.
“I was instrumental in the first walk in 1999,” Cistaro said Saturday. “It was at the high school.”
Cistaro also was instrumental in founding the Cancer Association of Havasu, she said.
Association chairman Carol Ferrell said this year’s event brought out about 500 walkers and 20 runners.
This is the third year since the Walk merged with the Fun Run, she said.
“I am blessed to be a cancer survivor,” said Ferrell, who is a 10-year survivor of stomach cancer. “I just want to give back.”
Proceeds from the event help provide a low-cost mammogram program to local women based on eligibility.
Mother and daughter team, Joy and Aja Atwood, both of Havasu, said they walk the event every year. It’s something they do together.
Joy, a two-time breast cancer survivor, said she walks in memory of her mother, who succumbed to cancer at age 58. As for herself, Joy said she’ll never forget the fret on the faces of her family when she was facing her own battles.
Fellow eight-year breast cancer survivor Theresa McAllister, of Havasu, said her message to anyone squaring up and facing their own battle is: “You can do this. It’s like getting yanked through a knothole but you’ll end up on your feet.”
McAllister’s walking partner, Jerry Davis, of Havasu, said that she is his inspiration to walk in support of the cause. His pastel pink bra on his chest and fairy wings on his back told the story.
Havasu resident Judith Gilliam said her survivor status is in its infancy at just five months.
“I’m a new survivor,” she said Saturday. “I’m glad to be here.”
Gilliam said she wanted to walk to help raise awareness about early detection because it saved her life.
Participants were of all ages and included men, women, children and a few dogs. Following a celebratory event-rally, all registrants kicked off the Walk/Fun Fun about 8 a.m. at the Aquatic Center and walked along a portion of State Route 95 to the English Village. They continued on their way through Bridgewater Channel and Rotary Community Park before returning to the Aquatic Center.
For more information about a breast cancer support and other medical condition support groups, visit www.havasucommunityhealth.org.
On the heels of the event, participants could attend the Community Health Fair at the Aquatic Center. The health fair, hosted by Havasu Community Health Foundation and Soroptimists of Havasu, was a full-house again this year with 60 vendors, said HCH president Jeanne Morgan.
“This is where we get the opportunity to touch the most lives in one day,” Morgan said. “It’s important to be proactive in managing our health as we are going forward. There is stress on health care providers to do more with less financially. So, our goal is to educate. It’s easier to manage any problems when you find it early.”
A few new vendors this year included Havasu Dentistry with oral cancer screening; Annual Wellness Center; and Lake Havasu Family Eye Care, who brought technology designed to detect blood sugar warning signs through eye examinations. Walgreen’s returned after a few-year hiatus from the health fair, bringing with them popular flu shots.
Longtime health fair vendor Barb Schoof, of Pet Partners, said five Pet Partner therapy dogs were on hand Saturday at her vendor booth.
“It’s a good time for people to meet our dogs in the community,” Schoof said.
The pet partner teams are do-gooders in Havasu, working with kids, the ill and the elderly, she said. For more information, visit www.petpartnerslhc.org.
Local business entrepreneur, Tony Rivello, owner of One Touch Med Alert, said the health fair is a great opportunity for networking with fellow home health businesses, health care providers, and the health fair goers in the city.
“It’s really nice to know what is out there,” Rivello said.
Rivello, who began his monitored medical alert business in Havasu two years ago, said his product line is growing.
“We have safety solution for those who want to remain safe and independent in their home,” Rivello said. “But, it’s for all ages.”
Saturday, Rivello, pitched his medical alert bracelets that go hand-in-hand with a smart phone scan. The quick scan pulls up the individual’s information including emergency contacts, allergies, medications, and blood pressure logs. The information is computer-managed, or a call to a help desk can set up the information. The bracelet’s price point of $20-$30, was drawing interest. On that note, Saturday’s bracelet sales benefitted the Cancer Association of Lake Havasu. Rivello said One Touch Med Alert would donate back $5 per bracelet sold during the health fair, 8 a.m. to noon. For more information, visit www.1touchmedalert.com.
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