Why we walk on colorful background

Why we walk: Nadine Mosk - a Walk for Hope pioneer

One of the original organizers of Walk 28 years ago, Nadine Mosk is thrilled to see City of Hope’s signature community event expand to its locations in four states. 

Since it first began as a walk and 5k race around City of Hope’s campus and through the city of Duarte, Walk for Hope has raised over $47 million to support research to end breast and gynecological cancers and has included thousands of supporters, teams and sponsors. 

The Southern California initiative was launched in 1996, and Nadine Mosk was there, one of a small group of volunteers who got it off the ground. The following year, City of Hope formed a national events team to centrally coordinate volunteer-led walks happening in other places in addition to the Duarte event. 

“At the time, the Susan G. Komen event was the only walk in existence that focused on breast cancer,” says Mosk, who was diagnosed with breast cancer just three months before the first Walk for Hope. “I was already active in City of Hope’s Sportsmen’s Club chapter when I received a call from City of Hope, asking if I wanted to be involved with creating the Walk.” 

Mosk says she jumped at the opportunity to plan the Walk with four other women. Together, they focused on creating an event that gave their family, friends and community members a way to contribute to City of Hope’s unyielding fight against cancer.  

Nadine Mosk in white shirt at first walk for hope
Nadine Mosk at an early Walk for Hope

A grassroots start 

For many people, Walk for Hope has always been a large event with multiple sponsors and teams. And this year, City of Hope will expand the Walk, adding a virtual event to in-person walks in five City of Hope locations nationwide. Thousands of people are expected to participate. But that’s a far cry from Walk for Hope’s humble — but triumphant — beginning. 

“We had three months to plan the first Walk for Hope, and only our friends and family came, though we did manage to get nearly 1000 people. Talk about a grassroots effort,” Mosk says. “We did our own advertising. All supplies and resources were donated. And we set up everything for the event ourselves.” 

Mosk and her partners raised $125,000 that year for City of Hope research. However, the personal and emotional response from the participants and organizers was an equally valuable and inspiring outcome. 

“Everyone returned to the Walk for the second year,” she says. “It became a very family-oriented morning, and everyone loved it. And that’s how we grew Walk for Hope for roughly 10 years.”  

Enthusiasm for expanding the Walk 

Mosk is encouraged by the growth of the event over the past 28 years. With every year, she says, more people have joined to support City of Hope’s innovative research into lifesaving and life-sustaining therapies. 

This year is particularly exciting for Mosk and Walk veterans as the event returns to an in-person format with an expanded scope and footprint. In-person walks will take place at all five of City of Hope’s locations with the goal of raising funds to eradicate all cancers

“Bringing everyone back together in a post-pandemic world will continue to breathe new life into the event.” 

The in-person event in Duarte is particularly special, she says. It gives previous and new participants the opportunity to see some of the fruits of their efforts first-hand. 

“People love coming to the City of Hope (Duarte) campus for Walk for Hope. Everyone loves walking by the hospital and seeing the patients waving from the windows,” she says. “That’s what’s important. It’s a chance to see what you’re working for.”  

Celebrating the impact 

Mosk says she’s always treasured the time she spent planning Walk for Hope and values every opportunity she gets to participate in the annual event. Each walk highlights how important fundraising is to support City of Hope’s trailblazing research and compassionate patient care. And it’s a reminder that the hospital’s scientists and medical teams continue to work tirelessly toward Mosk’s health care dream. 

“From my first day with Walk for Hope, my wish was that we would find a cure for breast cancer — that the numbers of patients diagnosed would go down,” Mosk says. “My lasting hope is that we’ll be able to find a cure — a pill or a shot — that will eradicate breast cancer, and all cancers.” 

Ultimately, she says, City of Hope is unique among health care institutions.  

“There’s no place like City of Hope. The hospital doesn’t just care for your disease. ‘There is no profit in curing the body if, in the process, we destroy the soul,’ Mosk says, quoting the famous Golter gate motto. “And City of Hope cares for your whole person and your entire family. You get a special feeling when you volunteer for City of Hope. You’re not just contributing to an institution or a hospital. Everyone’s important — they really make you feel at home.” 


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