PARKERSBURG - City Park was alive with color as almost 100 people from around the area participated in the fourth annual Mid-Ohio Valley In The Pink Walk/Run on Saturday.
"Every person here is helping to save lives," said Joan Parsons, director of Mid-Ohio Valley In The Pink. "I was hoping for more than 100 people, but everyone here is doing something to fight breast cancer."
About one in eight U.S. women, less than 12 percent, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, according to breastcancer.org.
Photos by Jolene Craig
Participants in the Mid-Ohio Valley In The Pink Walk/Run form a human pink ribbon in City Park on Saturday before the fourth annual event.
Three breast cancer survivors - Brenda Ketchem and Krista Rogers of Washington, W.Va., and Jackie Criss of Parkersburg - were honored during the opening ceremonies.
"It's important that women be their own advocates and follow through with screenings because they save lives," said Criss, a five-year survivor.
Ketchem, who had surgery in June and is currently receiving treatment, said her participation in the events sponsored by the Mid-Ohio Valley In The Pink is a way of giving back.
"You have to give back and if I can help women get a mammogram or other screening, then I've given back," she said. "And I will continue to give back."
Criss said she also wants to prove to those recently diagnosed and receiving treatment that it is all worth it.
"There is light at the end of this and giving back is a great way to help out," she added.
To honor Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, who died of breast cancer in 1927, Parkersburg Girl Scouts Troop 1162 led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance while also acting as the color guard presenting the American, Ohio and West Virginia flags.
"To honor Juliette Gordon Low, we have asked the Girl Scouts to work with us," Parsons said.
Girl Scouts are encouraged to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month in honor of Low.
Both Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell and Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz spoke during the event.
"Breast cancer has touched my family more than once and I pray it is taken care of so those in the future do not have to suffer and watch those they love go through it," Lorentz said.
Along with the 5K walk and run, Saturday's event included food, vendors displaying and selling merchandise and raffle prizes donated by area merchants and vendors.
Proceeds from the events of the walk will go to the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment Fund. Through the contributions of the event, at least two women will be able to have tests and improve their lives.
On Oct. 7, Mid-Ohio Valley In the Pink, which was formed in June 2009, will sponsor Pink Sunday to bring awareness to breast cancer.