BreastFest 2017 kicked off Saturday morning at 8:30 sharp with a 5K walk from the St. James City Civic Center. A total of 391 walkers, including a total of 42 breast cancer survivors, participated in the event.
"We are celebrating our 16th annual BreastFest," organizer Barb Riordan said. "What makes this year's event special is the Karaoke Contest."
The Karaoke Contest preliminaries were held at six venues resulting in two winners for each venue. Those 12 final contestants competed in the finals. Pat Moseley won first place (Captain Con's) and Olga Burt won second from the American Legion.
Breast cancer survivors Nancy Kennedy and Nan Patterson.
From Our Hearts, a beneficiary of BreastFest, joined forces with Partners for Breast Cancer Care and Regional Cancer Center/Lee Memorial Health System for the procedures necessary for those islanders who qualify and are facing possible breast cancer.
From Our Hearts and Partners for Breast Cancer Care raise money to help women and men right here in the Pine Island and Lee County community.
"Everything raised for Partners stays right here in Lee County and Partners supports the women of Pine Island and From Our Hearts because they support Partners," Riordan said. "The organization raises money for diagnostics for people who are uninsured or underinsured and can't afford to get a diagnosis."
Partners for Breast Cancer Cares' 'Breast Health Caravan' travels throughout Lee County and offers private, no-cost breast examinations by a volunteer physician, intake process with a bilingual case manager for qualification for mammograms, self-breast examination demonstrations, no cost screening mammograms and Informational hand-out packets.
To qualify you must have: lived in Lee County for the last 12 months; a Social Security card and Lee County photo ID; a prescription from a doctor for breast care; and no health insurance.
Troy Fullon and Pat Usherwood from Pink Heals stationed themselves and their pink fire truck at the entrance to the event. "We wear pink to honor all women and their families," Fullon said. "Illness doesn't discriminate: men women and children are all fighting this illness and Pink Heals is a symbol of hope. We take our pink truck from event to event to show them that they are not alone."
Walker prizes were awarded to Pine Island Resort/KOA for most money raised by a team; Nancy Ruby won first place for most money raised by an individual, Kris Hornsby won second place for most money raised by an individual and Sally Lamberg won third place for most money raised by an individual
"We had great participation this year and a 'special mention' goes out to the new team from Island Girl Exercise," Riordan said. "Also Marie Kocher is a regular walker and cancer survivor and she has donated a Brighton Bracelet every year. This year she donated two in honor of her sister, Cindy Briardi. One was awarded to the first place walker and one was awarded to a breast cancer survivor who joined us at the Walk."
"I think everyone has cancer touch their family," Riordan said. "And I've had cancer touch my family - two aunts, one of which has passed. This event is an opportunity for everyone to show their support and I'd like to thank everyone for making this such a great success."