For Monica Mottu, this weekend was a good opportunity to teach her daughter Sofia about the importance of breast cancer awareness.
Last Saturday, Oct. 12, the Mission Regional Medical Center, along with the American Cancer Society, held the 10th annual Mission Pink 5K Walk/Run, which benefited the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer cause. This is the first year MRMC and ACS teamed up to bring this event to Mission.
“This new partnership strengthens our commitment to helping everyone in the Rio Grande Valley affected by cancer,” said April Chapa, Community Development Manager with the American Cancer Society. “With a community champion like MRMC, the American Cancer Society hopes to continue to build on the wonderful success of Mission Pink over the last decade. Whether someone is currently dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, or may face one in the future, the American Cancer Society is always ready to help make a difference in their lives.”
Last year over 3,000 participants travelled from across the state and Mexico to Mission Regional, and this year’s event was planning on an even larger turnout. A cold front hit the Valley the evening before, so it was a cool morning when runners started Saturday morning.
Humans weren’t the only supporters during the walk/run – the event was pet-friendly, and dogs of all breeds and sizes wore pink as they participated.
According to a press release from the entities, the Mission Pink event “aims to raise awareness on the importance of breast self-examination for the early detection of breast cancer.”
Mottu, who was participating in support of the Surrounded by Love group, was at the event with her young daughter Sofia. She has an aunt who is a breast cancer survivor, a family member in California who is a survivor and a friend who has stage four cancer, so the cause is close to her.
“I’m here to support the people I love,” Mottu said. “It’s also so she [Sofia] can be aware. Awareness and educating yourself is the key, I think.”
Walks benefiting the Making Strides cause help the American Cancer Society fund breast cancer research, educate people about early detection and mammograms in order to reduce risk and offer support services for patients in the RGV who need it most. Before the run started, Chapa spoke about the services offered by ACS.
“We have free wigs at our office, we offer free headscarves and turbans, we offer free rides to treatment,” Chapa said. “We have our 1-800 number for emotional support – if somebody needs to go to M.D. Anderson in Houston, we offer free lodging. We have a lot of free services, and because we have events such as this, we are able to provide the community with this.”
MRMC Business Development and Marketing Manager Paola Lopez thanked the people and sponsors who were participating in the 10th annual event.
“This couldn’t be any better,” Lopez said, noting that their partnership with ACS has been great. “Thank you all so much for supporting this cause, breast cancer awareness.”
Four women were Portraits of Hope this year: Kathy Vallez, Rosalinda Mendez, Maria De Jesus Garcia and Lulu Rizalde. The survivors all had the opportunity to tell their stories and provide hope to all those in attendance.
Mendez, an almost seven-year cancer survivor, said that she was saved by early detection.
“It was found due to getting my mammogram,” Mendez said. “So my message here to you all, not just the ladies but the men as well, is to get your annual mammograms, because that is how they found mine – it wasn’t even a lump. Don’t lose faith, keep the hope, and always pray.”
This article originally appeared in the Friday Oct. 18, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.