Some people had canes and walkers, while others showed up to the parking lot of Lenox Mall with their children, pets and assorted family members. All were dressed in pink, including a man referring to himself as Captain Cancer Defender in a costume that included a pink cape with matching afro and mustache.
The 2022 Susan G. Komen More Than Pink walk took place Saturday morning with hundreds of walkers participating in the annual event. People like Latasha and Gregory Brown who were taking their first More Than Pink walk in honor of Mrs. Brown being a two-time breast cancer survivor. She had been diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in 2018 and two years later with metastatic breast cancer. “We want everybody to know, especially within the Black community, that this is a serious thing,” said Mrs. Brown, who was dressed in a pink tutu.
She added that early detection helped save her life. A life that she and her husband were on hand to continue celebrating.
Valerie Debro was taking selfies and photos for her Facebook page. She was at the walk to celebrate her mother and sisters, both are breast cancer survivors. “I’m here for women and men,” the broker with One Nation Entity LLC Real Estate said. “I just want to support them and for them to know they are not alone.”
1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, according National Breast Cancer Foundation data. In 2022 nearly 290,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with new cases of invasive breast cancer, according to data from breastcancer.org.
The walk is a way to inform people of the deadly disease, but it is also a way to inspire and unite people from all walks of life that have this unique life-altering event in common.
More than 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year. Those numbers still astound Dr. Jamar H. Jeffers, State Executive Director, Georgia with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. “That’s a whole damn football stadium,” he said. Jeffers was one of the event organizers and spent much of the morning before the walk moving tables and putting volunteers in place for what was expected to be a large crowd. “We are here to save lives. Early detection is key to survival.”
Of Black women in metro Atlanta there’s a 50% chance that those diagnosed with breast cancer will have less of a chance of early detection because of health inequities. “We are doing this for the whole state,” said Jeffers, who listed a number of southern and northern rural Georgia counties where hospitals are few and health inequities like a lack of insurance are plenty.
Two-time breast cancer survivor Tammy Robinson told The Atlanta Voice that she was at the walk “to honor myself and for my grandkids.” Robinson, who had a surgical hazel-eyed stare when describing her breast cancer journey and survival, has three granddaughters.
Prior to the race Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Captain Aprille Moore helped warm up the crowd with a series of stretches from a stage. Moore, who also doubles as an ambassador for Black Girls Run, lost her grandmother to liver cancer and understands how being in better shape can help stave off or better prepare for cancer. “Exercise is important, even if it’s just getting out and walking,” she said.
Hundreds of women, men and children lined up behind an orange Ford Mustang and waited for the walk to begin. Many hugged friends and said silent prayers for loved ones they lost to breast cancer and other forms of the disease. They also laughed, smiled, danced to the music coming from the various local radio stations on hand. They celebrated life. They walked and celebrated their lives and the lives of others.