Topekans Make Strides Against Breast Cancer

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - An army of fighters - clad in pink - stood up to breast cancer this Sunday. Hundreds of people took part in the third annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at the Statehouse.

"I'm walking in honor of my mother, she's a survivor, her name is Bonnie Brown," Staci Mongold, who was walking with her husband Nick, said.

"We're walking in honor of a good friend of ours by the name of Shari Hylton," Paul Brungardt, a pharmacy manager for Sam's Club of Topeka, said. Sam's Club fielded a team walking in honor or their co-worker, who died in February 2011.

Among the hundreds taking strides against breast cancer, most everyone had a brush with the disease.

"It's everywhere in my life and I've met a lot of people who deal with it also," 13 News morning anchor Amanda Lanum said. Lanum raised funds for the walk and served as a mistress of ceremony. She says she wanted to do her part to fight a disease that has hit home more than once.

"Cancer in general is very important to me because a lot of family diagnosed with cancer I've lost three grandparents to cancer and the one remaining has cancer," she said. A couple of women at 13 News have or are also battling the disease, she added.

Walkers raised more than $30,000 according to the Making Strides web page.

Staci Mongold was among the top three fundraisers. She and her friend Kara Cox were both walking for their mothers.

"We raise money every year," Mongold said, "This is a huge deal for both of us, both of our moms," she said.

Their moms survived, but they say funds don't just go towards finding a cure, they also go toward provide comfort.

"[My mother] lost her insurance and had to have the American Cancer Society pay for her mammogram, so it's an important cause for our family," Cox said.

Participants also send messages to their legislators to make sure funding for cancer research remains on a sure footing. The note were assembled to spell out the word "HOPE" on large poster boards.

"You never know if it's gonna affect me, my sister, my daughter one day," Lanum said. "So things like this are very important to me because we're not just raising money for people who have it now, but the future," she said.

More than 200,000 women get breast cancer each year in the United States, and despite advances in treatment, it's estimated that almost 40,000 women will die of the disease in 2012.