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September 24, 2008 > Keeping abreast

Keeping abreast

By Justine Yan

The 9th Annual KEEP ABREAST Walk/Run will be held this Saturday at the Quarry Lakes East Bay Regional Park in Fremont. Organized by the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation based in Fremont, this event will bring friends and family together to celebrate the courage of those who are fighting or have survived from breast cancer, and to remember those who have unfortunately lost their lives to the disease.

"It's just a wonderful time to honor all these courageous women and their families," said Karen Jackson, Community Development Director of the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, and Event Chairperson of this year's Walk.

People are welcome to register on the morning of the event, starting at 7:30 am. At 8:30, stretching and aerobics will begin, warming participants up for the 5-kilometer walk. Then, at 9 am, the Opening Ceremony, a special tribute to breast cancer survivors, will begin. The walk/run begins at around 9:30 am.

In the past years, the survivors have joined in a circle by the stage, and each of them announced how long they have lived without the disease. The ceremony ends as each woman is given a dove to release into the air.

Refreshments, live music, free massages, and a free barbeque lunch will all be a part of the celebrations. A Health Expo will also be offered, and participants can gather valuable information on various local nonprofit and health organizations.

This year, Jackson is expecting more people than ever. The goal, she says, is not only to bring the community out to support the women who have persevered in fighting the disease, but also to get more people aware of what the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation stands for, what it brings to the community, and what the Bras for Body & Soul program is all about.

HERS is an acronym for Hope, Empowerment, Renewal, and Support. The foundation strives to "foster the dignity and integrity of the client" by providing comfortable, well-fitting bras and prostheses for all types of women, who may not be able to find bras that meet their needs elsewhere. Located in the Washington Hospital Women's Health Center, Bras for Body & Soul receives clients from all over the Bay Area. Every purchase helps provide services to women who have suffered from Breast Cancer, regardless of their financial circumstances.

All proceeds from the KEEP ABREAST Walk/Run event registration goes toward the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation and stays in the Tri City area.

"A lot of women feel like they lose a bit of their identity after their surgeries. They just don't feel whole," said Jackson.
But the women at Bras for Body & Soul understand their clients' struggles. Jackson believes that by giving women well-fitting, comfortable bras and prostheses, the foundation not only supports their health, but also supports them emotionally.

"It's a very soothing atmosphere - it's not clinical at all. And the women who work with the clients are really wonderful in what they do," said Jackson. "It's not like going into a medical supply house. It's very different. It's very personal."

To register for the KEEP ABREAST Walk/Run, and to learn more about the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation, please visit their website at

Saturday, Sept 27
7:30 a.m. check-in (walk/run at 9:30 a.m.)
Quarry Lakes East Bay Regional Park
2100 Isherwood Way, Fremont
(510) 790-1911

7:30 am: Check In, Event Day Registration (T-shirt pickup after registration)
8:30 am: Stretching / Aerobics
9:00 am: Opening Ceremony, honoring breast cancer survivors and their families
9:30am: Walk/Run begins

$40 for Adults, $20 for Youth (11-17 yrs), Free for kids under 11
Parking is free. Pre-registered participants are guaranteed an event t-shirt.

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