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10-Year Survivor Brings Ubiquitous Support to Breast Cancer Walk


The duration of a flight from the Detroit Metro Airport to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport? Approximately one hour, 55 minutes.

The duration of Gwendolyn Burton’s commitment to raising money for Morehouse College’s 9th Annual Breast Cancer walk?

“Forever,” she said.

For Burton, a 10-year survivor of a rare form of breast cancer who makes a yearly pilgrimage from her Detroit home to support the Morehouse Breast Cancer Walk, this year was even more significant.

“[Oct. 4 was] my birthday, but I think that anyone who’s a cancer survivor feels like every day is their birthday,” said Burton, who, along with 400 other participants, made the ninth annual trek around the Atlanta University Center on Oct.4 to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Organized by Sandra Walker, the executive assistant to the vice president of business and finance, and 11-year cancer survivor Mary Peaks of the Counseling Research Center, the previous eight walks have raised a total of $116,000. The total raised in this year’s walk wasn’t available at press time.

Burton credits her son, Spence Burton Webb ’07, for her participation in the event. “He’s
been helping me collect funds for the past 10 years since I became a cancer survivor. And he’s
the one who got me involved with the walk in ’02,” she said.

The retired schoolteacher, college professor and author of six books of poetry explained
how she makes her way to Atlanta year after year. “I pay my own expenses when I fly here. I do it because I’m a survivor and I know how important it is.”

To survive cancer, Burton stresses that emotional support is just as important as financial support.

“I truly feel like—along with giving donations—establishing support groups is important for survivors,” Burton said. “The groups are not only important mental supports, but they also represent an opportunity to learn how to raise money and give back to others, as well.

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