On the stage standing together at the Sheraton Harrisburg Hershey Hotel, the group of about 20 women was unified by something they hadn’t chosen nor expected. They are the survivors, the ones who have faced breast cancer and are striving to keep anyone else from having to join their ranks.
They had gathered to kick off this year’s Making Strides of Harrisburg. The walk, which takes place October 15 raises money for research and to help those who have been diagnosed.
“Seeing all of the survivors stand together was really special,” said Danielle Wallace, Ella Health’s Director of Physician and Community Outreach. “These women are strong, resilient and supportive of one another even though they themselves have been through personal hell. They were so inspirational.”
Danielle said they also serve as a reminder that breast cancer has many faces and takes on all different shapes and sizes.
“It doesn’t discriminate,” she said. “In that moment, I think that myself and all of the other women in the room realized it could easily be one of us standing and holding a sign. That realization made me even more grateful that we could take a moment and applaud these women for their perseverance and wish them luck with their futures.
Ella Health is a sponsor of the event.
“It’s in perfect alignment to help women screen themselves and get in front of a potential battle with breast cancer,” Danielle said. “This event helps women in central Pennsylvania educate themselves and others about how to protect themselves and their loved ones. We are proud to be a resource for this community and support those who are currently fighting or have already fought breast cancer.”
Danielle attended the event with Ella Health Director of Operations and Technology Jason Lucas. He said he was surprised that there weren’t more men.
“I know that breast cancer is considered to be mostly an issue that affects women, but the truth is that it is not exclusive to women. There are men that are affected as well.”
But even if it was just a woman’s issue, men should still be involved, Jason said.
“The women who are hurt by this disease should have the support of men that are in their lives to help fight through to recovery,” he said. “Simply put, more men need to be involved.”
While there, Jason let himself get talked into posing for a picture while wearing a pink feather boa.
“It’s completely out of character for me, but if doing that could in any way help raise awareness about the risk of breast cancer, then I would wear a pink boa whenever necessary,” he said. “It is such an important cause. Just about anyone has been touched in one way or another by cancer. It is a disease that needs to be stamped out.”