Thirteen is far from unlucky for the Chicago Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer.
Capping off its 13th anniversary on Oct. 14, the event not only maintained its record as the longest-running Walk for Hope, but it also boasts the nation’s top fundraising teams. The event also marked its first year in a new location at the Illinois Science + Technology Park in Skokie, Ill., a suburb on the north side of Chicago.
"We're lucky to have been invited to this new setting, and we’re tremendously grateful to all of our participants who came out to the Walk, as well as those who contributed by signing up as virtual walkers," said Karen Rolls, assistant director of development in City of Hope’s Chicago office.
The Walk for Hope to Cure Breast Cancer program, which raises funds to support breast cancer research, treatment and education at City of Hope, began in the Chicago area in 1994. The first year of the event, which was held on the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, about 500 walkers attended and raised about $50,000. Today, nine cities host Walk for Hope events, with tens of thousands of participants raising millions of dollars for City of Hope.
Chicago’s Walk featured a 5-kilometer walk and fun run, 1-mile walk, a dedication lane of customized, inspirational messages on signs and Paper Mate’s traveling journal where participants write notes of encouragement.
As of press time, Chicago again hosted the nation’s top individual fundraising team. “C is for Courage, S is for Strength,” the leading individual fundraising team in the country for 2006 with more than $60,000 contributed, currently leads the country once more. Its founders, sisters Chelli Fishman and Stefanie Penner, alone have raised more than $17,000.
Fishman and Penner have mobilized many behind breast cancer research through their own story. They began their team after their friend Carey Kadota Laktineh died from breast cancer, and both women were soon diagnosed with cancer themselves. Now survivors, the women inspire others to be vigilant about screenings and encourage women to pursue genetic testing when appropriate.
In addition, previous years’ national fundraising leader Mara’s Hope, led by Elaine Bloom, continues to rank among the top fundraisers, and United Stationers, led by the office product company’s chief executive officer, Richard Gochnauer, has raised substantial funds. The nation’s top fundraising chapter, Children’s Leukemia Chapter, also participates in the Chicago Walk.
For more information about Walk for Hope, visit www.walk4hope.org. Registration is still open for the Los Angeles Walk for Hope on Oct. 28.