Walk of Hope raises nearly $80,000 for The Cancer Support Center

  Cancer survivors lead the way as the 2016 Walk of Hope 
  begins Sunday in Irwin Park.
(Photos by Eric Crump/H-F 


The field was soggy from rain the past several days, but spirits were high and dry as the Walk of Hope walkers congregated at Irwin Park in Homewood on Sunday morning.

Cancer Support Center Executive Director Sue Armato said 630 walkers raised more than $78,000 to support the center's mission of providing support to area cancer victims. 

  Ann Jackson speaks prior 
  to the Walk of Hope. She 
  cut the ribbon to officially 
  launch the walk.

With cheers and rousing music, the 630 walkers ignored the puddles and streamed through downtown Homewood to help support the organization that supports them. 

The Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle was the media sponsor of the event and had a station set up on Harwood Avenue. Many walkers stopped briefly to get their photos taken in the Chronicle's "front page" selfie frame.

Before the walk began, Armato noted that this week is the fifth anniversary of her cancer diagnosis.

  Walker head west on Ridge 
  Road during the Walk of 
  Hope on Sunday.

"It took 22 months for me to get through that battle," she said. "I am grateful and thankful every day that I am able to continue to be a part of my family and my community and to be part of the incredible work that the center does."

Survivor Ann Jackson said a few words before the walk began and cut the ribbon to officially start the event.

Jackson said she had for several years been involved in the event as a sponsor, but last year the center took on new meaning for her.

"Last year, when the Cancer Support Center was calling me for my donation, I was calling them for support," she said, noting that she had just been diagnosed with cancer. "I knew they would help me with my journey."

Jackson described the atmosphere of the center as welcoming and inviting, which is important for people who are facing the uncertainty and fear of dealing with cancer. 

She urged everyone to help the center continue to grow its services and its reach.

"There are ways we can serve beyond today," she said. "Now, instead of saying to people, 'Go to the Cancer Support Center, I take them by the hand and walk them through the door."

Armato announced the awards for fundraising achievements. 

  • The top school: Prairie State College, $1,318. 
  • The top Individual family or group of friends: Walkers of Faith, $4,575.
  • The top overall business or community organization: Service Above Self, $3,000.
  • The Spirit of Hope Award: Walkers of Faith.
  • The top individual: Gail Banks, $1,650.
  • Super Survivor top individual award: Robin Obregon, $2,700.

The event's primary sponsor was Cancer Treatment Centers of America . More sponsors are listed at www.firstgiving.com/cancersupportcenter/2016-fall-walk-of-hope.

Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun and Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld gave brief opening remarks, and Jim Kvedaras of CN Railway presented award plaques.

Photo gallery:
Walkers make the 'front page' of the Chronicle

  Following the survivor group are walkers heading out 
  on the walk's three-mile route.


  Cecily Hunt leads walkers in a yoga warm-up session 
  before the start of the Walk of Hope.


  Jim Kvedaras, CN’s director of government affairs, holds 
  up a check representing the funds raised by individuals, 
  groups, organizations and businesses in the 2016 
  Walk of Hope campaign.


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