A never-ending stream of over 9,000 men, women and children started their 5K or 2.5K walk as the buzzer went off on Sunday morning’s Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer at the City of Hope campus in Duarte. Individuals were proudly walking with their Walk for Hope T-shirts, radiating hope and support for those struggling with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

“We just support the cause,” said PCC student Tourneur Airitam, who has been doing this walk every year for four years. “It gets bigger and bigger every year.”

This 12th annual walk in Los Angeles started in order to help promote research, education and patient care that the City of Hope has been doing for almost 100 years. It also gives cancer patients, survivors and healthy individuals a chance to mingle.

Several organizations and corporations such as Team Picasso’s, Giggle Gaggle of Gynecology, Foothill Credit Union, the Los Angeles Police Department and numerous others joined the walk while proudly holding up their team signs.

Prior to the walk, president and chief of City of Hope, Dr. Michael A. Friedman, gave his speech. “I am proud to share our commitment to fight breast cancer,” he said. “I firmly believe we will find a cure.”

Walk of Hope celebrity ambassador and actress on the long-running TV show “One Life to Live,” Andrea Evans, also took the microphone with her infant daughter Kylie. “I walk not just because I am the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I walk because I don’t want [my daughter] to worry about this.”

Over $650,000 was collected from registries, sponsors and donations. One of the largest sponsors included Albertsons/Sav-On. The corporate representative personally gave a sponsorship check of $25,000 to Friedman on stage.

Aside from the walk, there was a live performance by the 80s band The Spazmatics.

There were also several exhibitors, such as a cancer survivor booth with cancer survivors handing out gifts to all cancer survivor participants.

“It’s the big ‘C’ word. Some people’s lives were destroyed while a majority of people were strengthened,” said Jean Nieblas, a survivor of Hodgkin’s disease. “Everyone around this table has a story.

Participants march through the City of Hope campus in Duarte in Sunday morning’s Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer. Over 9,000 people walked either a 2.5K or a 5K course. (Charles Digal)

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