Care Walk raising hope one step at a time

This year, Fulford says proceeds from the walking happening on May 13th will go toward Noble Circle and Living with Lymphedema. (WKEF/WRGT)

OAKWOOD, Ohio (WRGT/WKEF) - Hundreds of people are getting ready to lace up their shoes and participate in CARE Walk, an annual event that's raised more than $200,000 for local breast cancer related causes.

Leigh Ann Fulford says the walk started 16 years ago, when she was preparing to do a big 60 mile walk for breast cancer in Atlanta, Georgia. She and other moms training for it were invited into Oakwood Schools' physical education classes to talk about long distance walking and Fulford says students kept asking similar questions: Why are you walking so much? Once the students learned about the cause, many wanted to join. So Fulford started the 5K Care Walk in 2002.

"I've had friends who have had breast cancer and it's just such an ugly disease," said Fulford. "And you just want it to go away."

Fulford said she didn't know what to expect that first year. To her surprise, 300 walkers signed up. The event grew from there and she partnered with The Dayton Foundation to make all donations fully tax-deductible. Also, all of the money raised goes toward breast cancer education and prevention programs in the Miami Valley.

"We have a lot of people here in MIami Valley who need help, who need services and that's where we want to dedicate our money," Fulford said.

This year, Fulford says proceeds from the walking happening on May 13th will go toward Noble Circle and Living with Lymphedema. Terri Baldasare is a breast cancer survivor and now deals with lymphedema, which is a condition caused by cancer treatment that leaves parts of the body swollen from fluid build up. Baldasare says compression wraps are an important way to treat it, but often they aren't covered by insurance.

"They run between 100 dollars and 500 dollars and they only last six months," Baldasare said.

So Baldasare says getting funding help from the CARE Walk is a major help to so many women and men living with lymphedema in the Miami Valley.

Fulford says since they started the walk 16 years ago, it's raised $221,000 and counting.

"We've made great strides," Fulford said. "And that's what I think we all need to do in all our lives is not be scared. Keep moving forward."

For more information about CARE Walk and how to register, you can click here.

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