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Walk Gets a Boost from Matching Funds

By Rori Francis Blakeney

When Darius Smith crossed the finish line at the 6th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk on Saturday, Oct. 1, there is no doubt his mom, Chandra Price, would have been proud. An administrative assistant in the Campus Operations department and one of the three founding organizers of the walk, Price died of breast cancer in 2002.

But, her legacy didn’t. Sandra Walker, founder of the walk, and Mary Peaks, co-organizer of the walk, are keeping the walk alive.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 1999,” said Walker. “Chandra Price, Mary Peaks and I had been diagnosed within a three-year period and I wanted to do something to inform the community and the Morehouse College family about the disease.”

More than a fundraiser to benefit the American Cancer Society, the “awareness” walk seeks to raise consciousness about detecting the disease that will impact more than 200,000 women this year. Each year, the number of participants in the walk grows.

With more than 400 participants, the walk raised nearly $20,000 this year. The Georgia Cancer Coalition has agreed to match the College’s contribution dollar-for-dollar, which means the American Cancer Society will receive nearly $40,000. Since its founding, the Morehouse College Breast Cancer Walk has raised more than $67,300 to help with education and research for the disease that affects faculty, staff and students.

Gwendolyn Burton, a Morehouse mom and a two-time cancer survivor, and two friends drove from Detroit to Atlanta to participate in the walk. They made a $250 donation.

“I’ll be back next year. And I am going to bring some more people,” she said.

Burton was not the only one toting cash to support the event. Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart joined other corporations, including Banks, Finley & White and Initial Contract Services in donating $1,000 to the walk.

First Lady Shirley Massey, along with State Rep. Kathy Ashe, and teams from Sam’s Club/Wal-Mart and Fed Ex walked the two-mile course with faculty, staff, students and members of the larger Morehouse community. Sheree Benton, accounts payroll specialist and a colleague of Chandra Price, who finished the walk in 25 minutes, was the first woman to cross the finish line.

“I felt ecstatic when I crossed the finish line. I think about Chandra all the time,” Benton said.

“My mom died from breast cancer at the age of 43. I was thinking about her a lot that day.”

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