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Hope Hike: Supporting Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors Every Step of the Way

We’re with you every step of the way…It’s not just a slogan at Orlando Health Cancer Institute. Throughout the year, it’s a metaphor for the care and compassion the cancer center provides to patients and survivors. But in October, it takes on a literal meaning when the Orlando Health community literally walks the talk by sponsoring the Hope Hike to raise awareness of breast cancer.

Hope Hike is an annual event at Orlando Health, designed to bring the community together and raise awareness of breast cancer. Held at Orlando Health’s downtown, Lake Mary and Dr. Phillips locations, this year’s events drew nearly 300 participants, ranging from cancer survivors to community and team members.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Hope Hike on the downtown Orlando campus kicked off a month of activities to help people learn more about breast cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. The month’s activities also celebrate the bravery of breast cancer survivors and the dedication of nurses, doctors and other team members who help fight this disease, said Mark Roh, MD, president of Orlando Health Cancer Institute, in his opening remarks at the October 5 event on the downtown campus.Hope Hike speakers smile for photo

During the three Hope Hike events, attendees heard from speakers that included Orlando Health Cancer Institute physicians, first responders, local elected officials and cancer survivors.

Perhaps one of the most inspirational speeches came from Peggy Sue Munday, a breast cancer survivor. “Every single day in our lives is a gift,” she said. Munday recounted how devastated she was when she was diagnosed. She sobbed through her first appointment, she said. She was frightened and couldn’t concentrate. She questioned her faith. Everything became a challenge. But, Munday added, when she came to Orlando Health, she learned to live again, and to trust God and her doctors.

“Celebrate the new things every single day,” she advised. “Have hope for a brighter tomorrow.”

This year, the Hope Hike event included a new twist: a collaboration with first responders to raise awareness of breast cancer in the community. Pink police carAt the downtown location, first responders from Orange County Fire and Rescue, Orlando Fire Department and the Orlando Police Department provided several of their emergency vehicles for a makeover. The vehicles were unveiled, wrapped in bright pink, a color synonymous with breast cancer awareness.

Commissioner Patty Sheehan, City of Orlando, said the Hope Hike emphasizes the community’s commitment to improving the lives of those battling the disease and to winning the fight one person at a time until the disease is eradicated.

About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer occurs when malignant cells grow in the breast tissue and is the second-leading cause of death among women. One in 8 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. But there is encouraging news: The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports that in the last 20 years, death rates from breast cancer have declined, thanks to improved screening, early detection, more awareness and better treatment options. The American Cancer Society estimates that with early detection, breast cancer has a 90 percent survival rate.Girls smile with Pink Strong sign at Hope Hike

Know the signs that may indicate breast cancer:

  • A change in the breast or nipple appearance—such as dimpling, swelling, shrinkage, asymmetry or changes in the skin
  • Any nipple discharge, clear or bloody

If you have these symptoms, or other nonspecific symptoms that concern you, contact your doctor.

Breast cancer screening can help detect breast cancer in its earlier stages, when it is easier to treat. Breast self-exams, clinical exams, mammograms and MRIs are common methods to identify changes in the breast.

For more information about breast cancer, consider these resources:

Orlando Health Cancer Institute

National Breast Cancer Foundation

Susan G. Komen

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