The cool weather on October 12th didn’t stop community members from participating in the fight against breast cancer. Through a scenic walk around Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis, I participated in honoring survivors, raising awareness and increasing hope to fight the disease. Although I participated in this walk, that one is one of nearly 300 communities that participate in the walk each year… to fight breast cancer with research, information and services for the women and few men who need them. While at the walk I truly was a part of something inspiring. It was an incredible event I have continued to participate in for many years. I have family members affected by the disease, and I walk to support them as survivors and honor others who are affected. The walk is a unified force filled with speakers, music and enthusiasm, while empowering people from all over the nation. It’s clearly a fundraiser, but they allow anyone to participate. Most create teams dedicated to loved ones affected by the disease. What’s moving is that everyone comes together as one unified body to fight cancer. I think another big part of the walk is to remind people, whether affected personally or through a loved one, is that they are never alone. The community, along with the American Cancer Society will support and empower those affected. The American Cancer Society truly wants the community to come together to finish the fight, by donating, participating and keeping others informed. Their fight has certainly not gone unnoticed. Since 1993 more than 9 million walkers have raised $528 million dollars in the fight to end breast cancer. The American Cancer Society continues to try to finish the fight, while opening the invitation for people to join them. As the time approached to cross the start line, I was flooded with inspiration, hope, empowerment, and feelings I can’t even begin to express. Having just learned about breast cancer in my “Women, Medicine and Biology” course at the University of St. Thomas, I was more inspired by the walk this year than ever before. Seeing the smiling faces of everyone who came together was one of the most beautiful things in the world. Some of those faces were faces of remembrance, but the common goal was the same for everyone. We all want to celebrate more birthdays (the American Cancer Society’s campaign theme). That can also be accomplished through events like Relay for Life in the spring. When the time came for me to cross the finish line at the end of the Strides walk, I couldn’t help but smile right along with the other walkers. For it symbolized the end – the hopeful end to the disease – a finish line the American Cancer Society and community are hoping to cross soon.