In 2001, the Gouverneur Business Women in Gouverneur, NY formed a corporation, the purpose of which was to organize an annual walk to assist people diagnosed with breast cancer. Each year, with the help of corporate sponsors and local businesses, the GBW hold a walk to raise money to battle breast cancer. Local residents, along with the members of the GBW request pledges from friends, neighbors and local businesses for the walk. Participants come out in droves to participate in the walk. The money raised stay local; the GBW assist women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer by providing financial assistance for treatments not covered by insurance. They also assist with transportation costs and have even provided payment for insurance coverage that was going to lapse due to the inability to afford the coverage.
This year marked the 10th annual walk. Although there was a steady rain, participation was incredible. The last announcement made before the walk began, placed the total raised at $47000, with a whopping $6000 being donated by the Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Department. This total did not include the monies raised through button sales or raffle tickets, it also did not include any monies raised at the end of the walk through donations and sales. Over the past 10 years, the total raised has now gone beyond $400,000.
The walk began in the village park on Main Street. The route was marked by pink ribbons and led by one of the Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Department’s water trucks. The water truck was decked out in pink balloons and the members of the fire department were wearing pink t-shirts in support of the cause. The participants included young and old, babies in strollers, young children in wagons, some who were disabled and needed the assistance of a walker or a wheel chair. There were 21 breast cancer survivors among us as we paraded down the street, my Mom included, she has been in remission for 6 years now. One woman approached my Mom and said “its raining and we are getting wet, we are uncomfortable but that is nothing compared to what you and others have suffered with cancer.” The end of the walk brought us to Riverview Park where the final ceremonies were held. The final ceremonies included awarding the prizes from the raffles and button sales and recognition of the survivors. The finale was the entire crowd singing “I Won’t Let Go” by Rascal Flatts, there was not a dry eye to be had.
We have all been touched by breast cancer in one way or another. The GBW have a website to obtain more information on the yearly walk or if you need assistance, the website is www.gouverneurbreastcancerwalk.com. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please contact them. If you would like to donate or sponsor the walk, all of the information you need is on the website.