Jones Beach Breast Cancer walk expects to draw thousands

October 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

Rapp, a contractor assistant from St. James, is the third sister in her family diagnosed with breast cancer, and she will join tens of thousands of people participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides 5-mile walk at Jones Beach.

Rapp’s oldest sister, Maureen, 57, is recovering from a recent bout of chemotherapy, while middle sister, Barbara, 56, was re-diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer in 2005.

The three sisters walked together in Making Strides in 2007. While Rapp is walking without them this year, the cause and the community support her. “You don’t feel alone,” she said.

Speaking at a news event held by Stop & Shop supermarkets, a local sponsor of the walk, Rapp credited the American Cancer Society’s support network for helping her overcome her fear of cancer.

“I’m no longer afraid of it. It’s afraid of me,” said Rapp, who was diagnosed three years ago and successfully completed chemotherapy and radiation treatment. “I’m here, I’m staying here, and I’ll be back next year.”

The American Cancer Society has sponsored Making Strides for the past 15 years, raising money for breast cancer research, according to Anne Thorsen, the senior director of special events for the agency.

Last year, more than 50,000 participants walked the course. This year’s event has a rolling registration period beginning at 8 a.m. in Field 5.

“Unfortunately, so many people have been touched by breast cancer, especially here on Long Island,” Thorsen said.

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Elisabeth Doyle, 33, a West Babylon Stop & Shop cashier, said she found courage in her four kids in beating breast cancer. “I just need to be around for my children,” she said.

Doyle, who is participating with 500 of her Stop & Shop co-workers in the walk, said her goal is to teach women about breast cancer and the importance of mammograms.

“I just want women to go do what they have to do,” Doyle said. “I would involve myself in anything to speak to women.”

The nasty forecast of cold and wet weather for the weekend hasn’t deterred participants.

“I heard we’re supposed to get a nor’easter. I hope that doesn’t happen, but we’ll give it our best shot,” Rapp said. “I’ve weathered other storms and I can weather this one.”

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