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Thousands walk for breast cancer awareness

  • Walking in support: more than 2,000 Bermudians and residents from all stations of life turned out for the 22nd annual BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk through the streets of Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • Walking in support: more than 2,000 Bermudians and residents from all stations of life turned out for the 22nd annual BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk through the streets of Hamilton (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • 22nd annual BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • 22nd annual BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • 22nd annual BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
  • 22nd annual BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Survivors and supporters took to the streets for the BF&M Breast Cancer Awareness Walk yesterday.

More than 2,000 people, including school groups, took part in the event, which started at Barr’s Bay Park in Hamilton.

It was organised by the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre with insurance firm BF&M and has been running for 22 years.

Deborah Titterton-Narraway, the chief marketing officer at BCHC, said walkers turned up for variety of reasons.

She explained: “You’ve got survivors who come out and, for the longest time, nobody knew who the survivors were.

“It’s taken us so many years to get them to wear a sash. Their caregivers and supporters come walking in support of that journey.

“Then there are women and men who come because one in eight people will be diagnosed with breast cancer; that means pretty much everybody knows somebody.”

Sue French, from Devonshire, was among those wearing a survivor sash and urged other women to make sure they get regular mammograms.

The 64-year-old said: “I came here because it was a good thing to do; we need to take care of this. If I hadn’t been checked, I would never have known.”

Ms French added that she received her diagnosis in May last year and went through chemotherapy, which ended last December. That was followed by six weeks of radiotherapy treatment.

She added: “The walk is for a good cause, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Maria Harris, 56, of Hamilton Parish, was with a group of supporters and praised the care she received.

She said: “I received the diagnosis in 2016. I had chemo here and radiotherapy in Boston.

“The treatment here was absolutely fantastic from the start.

“It’s not easy but they tried to make it as easy as they could. The chemotherapy ward is more like a family unit.

“I can’t express how grateful I am, if you were royalty you couldn’t get treated any better.”

Ms Harris, who was joined by her daughter Georgia, 23, added: “I want to support other people going through what I did.”

Gloria Dill, a 58-year-old executive administrator, of Smith’s, said: “I’ve been a survivor for over 25 years and this is about support.

“It’s support not just for people you know but people you don’t know.

“I want to be here because I want my face where people can come up to me and say, you’re a survivor, I’m a survivor, too, and we can connect, because we shouldn’t be afraid to put ourselves out there.”

Kristin Burt, wife of David Burt, the Premier, is a patron of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and said it was “great” to be contributing to the event.

She added the disease has a “wide impact on our community”.

Ms Burt said: “There’s a lot that all of us can do and a lot to collaborate on in terms of what’s actually available for women who are suffering.”

John Rankin, the Governor, also took part.

He said: “It’s great to see so many people here. This is a very successful event — there are young people, older people, men and women.

“It’s another example of Bermuda coming together to tackle the issue.”

The BCHC website recommends annual mammograms from the age of 40 and that they should be continued “for as long as a woman is in good health”.

Clinical breast exams are recommended every three years for women in their 20s and 30s then every year for those aged 40 and over.

The website said: “Women should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast change promptly to their healthcare provider.”