The 24th annual Bosom Buddies "One Step Closer to Help and Hope" Walk/Run is Saturday, Oct. 8, starting at the Montrose Pavilion. Presented by Montrose Memorial Hospital, the event opens at 8 a.m. for registration with the 5k walk and 5k/10k run beginning at 9 a.m.
This is the major fundraiser for the Bosom Buddies Breast Cancer Support Group of Southwestern Colorado. Event co-chairs Patti Powel and Phyllis Wiesner emphasize that all funds raised are spent locally to help the residents of Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel counties affected by breast cancer.
"One out of every eight women is diagnosed with breast cancer and the number of men being diagnosed is on the rise," said Powel. "That's someone's mother, wife, father or friend. We're here to give those affected by this disease help and hope."
"Bosom Buddies offers weekly support group meetings to women, men and their families who have ever had to deal with breast cancer," said Wiesner. "It's important to have a safe place to discuss your feelings and fears."
The support group meets Wednesdays at noon at the Bosom Buddies office at 645 S. 5th Street in Montrose. According to Powel, many of those who attend share their stories and end up helping someone who has just been diagnosed.
In addition to the weekly group meetings, Bosom Buddies offers financial medical assistance to those who qualify and will pay for family counseling. Annual scholarships are awarded to the children of a parent or guardian who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Scholarships are also available to survivors.
This year, Bosom Buddies began a campaign encouraging regular monthly self-exams on the first day of each month. The group distributed shower cards with exam instructions and devoted a portion of its website to early detection.
"Early detection is the key to have treatment options," said Powel. "The more advanced the disease, the more difficult the treatments may be."
"With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, we are hoping to encourage more people to do a thorough self-exam and to see your health professional if you find anything unusual," said Wiesner.
Each registrant will receive a long-sleeved shirt imprinted with the event sponsors. "People love these shirts," said Powel. "Everyone wants to know what the color of this year's shirt will be, but we like to keep it a secret until race day."
Wiesner emphasized that early registration is important to ensure that each participant receives the size shirt they want. "We order the shirt sizes based on the registrations received and, sometimes, we do run out of the more popular sizes," said Wiesner.
The cost of the event is $30 in pre-registration and $35 for race day registration. Entry forms are available at Montrose Memorial Hospital, San Juan Cancer Center, City Market, Safeway and the Bosom Buddies office.
Mailed registrations must be postmarked by Friday, Sept. 30. Online registration is available until 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at www.bosombuddiesswc.org.