LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) — The second annual Hadassah Walks for Breast Cancer Awareness honored survivors and lives lost to cancer, while also raising money for an organization at the forefront of life-saving research on Sunday afternoon.
“Today, unfortunately everyone seems to know someone who’s been affected by breast cancer,” said Lauren Salit, the co-fundraising chair for the St. Petersburg chapter of Hadassah.
Laurie Reskind told News Channel 8 the support of family, friends, and her community helped her through a battle with breast cancer.
“The work that Hadassah does on women’s health care has all been important in my journey,” Reiskind said.
Reiskind has been a member of the St. Petersburg chapter of the national Jewish women’s volunteer organization. She was recognized before the walk for being five years cancer-free.
“My first and most important message is that mammograms do matter,” she said. “My breast cancer was found early during a routine mammogram and fortunately living in St. Petersburg, Moffitt Cancer Center was in my backyard.”
There was plenty of pink on display as more than a hundred people took part in the walk that also honored breast cancer survivor Harriet Starr.
She was diagnosed in 2003.
“It means a lot,” Starr said. “I know we always count five years for the milestone, but 20 years is really great.”
Lauren Salit helped organize the fundraiser in support of the Hadassah Medical Organization.
“Which includes money toward obviously for breast cancer treatments,” she said, “but also given what’s going on in Israel, it will also go to greatest need in Israel.”
Salid said she had preventative surgery to reduce her risk of developing breast cancer.
“I don’t have cancer, thankfully,” she said, “but I do have the BRCA2 gene so I’m what they call a ‘previvor.’ I had a double mastectomy a year and a half ago because I just didn’t want to take the risk of worrying about getting cancer. One of my siblings does have breast cancer.”
The event that brought together members of the Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Pinellas County chapters of Hadassah raised more than $10,000.