Run-walk event promotes breast cancer awareness

Tribune Chronicle / Andy Gray Dr. Amy Awaida of Howland, seated, gets pink coloring and glitter added to her hair by volunteer Morgan Jewell of Boardman before the start of the Trumbull Memorial Hospital Pink Ribbon Run-Walk Saturday.

WARREN — Makenzi DeMoss won’t celebrate her second birthday until later this year, but she was taking part in her third Trumbull Memorial Hospital Pink Ribbon Run-Walk on Saturday.

“She was inside me for her first one,” said her mother, Erin DeMoss. “My best friend’s mother is a breast cancer survivor and it’s her birthday. That’s why we do it.”

Teresa Yeager of Nelson was the one celebrating both her birthday and being cancer-free. It was her sixth year taking part in the walk. That first year, still fighting the disease, she barely could finish the mile.

“One of these days, I’ll do the run,” she said. “That’s my goal.”

She was surrounded by friends and family as the walk began, and her more immediate goal was to finish the walk and get onto the birthday celebration.

“We’ll have a little cake and ice cream after we go to the Hot Dog Shoppe,” Yeager said. “That’s not on the health plan, but once a year is OK.”

More than 200 runners and walkers registered for the event, which was started to raise breast cancer awareness for prevention, diagnosis and survivorship as well as to encourage health and fitness. Women could sign up for mammogram screenings at the event, and Trumbull Memorial Chief Nursing Officer Laurie Barber said about 10 women had registered there before the race.

Yeager wasn’t the only one celebrating Saturday. Cancer survivor Linda Benson of Warren had about 10 family members there either running with her or cheering her along. The family has turned the annual run into an end-of-summer party.

“Instead of worrying about cancer, we celebrate,” she said. “I’m just thankful and blessed that I’m able to do it, and that I get to spend time with my family.”

Pink was the color of the day. Many of the participants wore pink shirts. Cheerleaders from different squads at Warren G. Harding High School shook pink pom poms and rewrote some of the school’s cheers to support the pink and white. Yeager wore a pink feather boa for her walk, and her son, Brian Yeager of Garrettsville, had his facial hair sprayed pink before the race and a pink racing stripe painted down the center of his shaved head.

Dr. Larry Woods, a cardiologist at TMH, and his wife, Rebecca, a breast cancer survivor, were joined by their dog, Lucy, who was wearing a top studded with pink rhinestones.

“I’m in favor of anything that builds awareness about a disease that affects so many people in the world,” Rebecca Woods said. “It’s a tough struggle. I’m nine years out, so I’m happy.”