I joined more than 10,000 people in attending the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in Santa Clara, California on Saturday and the energy was nothing short of electric. Here are my top three takeaways from a moving day, among a wonderful community.
1. Mo’ Money, Mo’ Research
I would be burying the lede to begin with anything other than fundraising. The Making Strides, Silicon Valley event raised a whopping $325,000 at the time of writing this blog post! The money goes towards breast cancer research and patient programs, which is hugely important and at the core of the event. A huge kudos to everyone who contributed to the success of the fundraiser, with a special acknowledgement of members of the “Grand Club” and “Pacesetters” who raised more than $1,000 and $2,500 each, respectively.
2. Pink Flair Builds Community
The Making Strides walk is always a dress to impress event, with creative pink outfits of all types on display (sequins, fur, tulle… oh my!). Fashion makes teams easily identifiable and results in some amazing photos, but it also plays another important role. I’m not somebody who is generally comfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger. However, I’ve found that it is so much easier to do so if the person is decked out in pink, with wacky accessories or homemade designs. Fashion presents an accessible and genuine way to kick off a conversation. For example, “Your butterfly headband is fantastic — did you make it yourself?” This helps break the ice, before getting into deeper conversations about breast cancer. I believe these connections help build community, and for this reason, I’m on Team Pink.
3. Breast Cancer Does Not Discriminate
It’s not often that people wear a billboard announcing their health history. But at the Making Strides event, survivors are draped in sashes proclaiming their survivor status as a badge of honor. Survivors were all ages and ethnicities, from all walks of life. I should know better by now, but on multiple occasions I still found myself thinking, “Wow, she had breast cancer?” In the words of Dulci Edge, a San Francisco-based breast cancer survivor and design professional, “Breast cancer does not care how much water you drink, or how busy you are. It can find you when you least expect it.”
Same Time, Next Year?
The Making Strides Silicon Valley event is put on by a group of dedicated and energetic professionals who run a terrific day. It’s at a great location, with loads of community building, the best entertainment and so much love. Quiltlove was pleased to donate vouchers for two custom quilts, to be given out as prizes to a Survivor and a Pacesetter — which I can’t wait to make. In addition, thanks to sales of breast cancer support quilts over the past month, I donated $420 to the Making Strides event. Woohoo! For that, I’m thankful to YOU.
I’ll be at the Making Strides event next year, how about you? Until then… go get a mammogram.
As always, thanks for reading.