They walked on Sunday in groups, or as individuals, as cancer survivors or patients' supporters for the annual Walk of Hope fundraiser for the Cancer Support Center.
Susan Armato, executive director of the center, said nearly 500 people were registered for the 5K walk through Homewood on a beautiful morning, Oct. 17.
“It is so inspiring and so amazing to see all of you out here today. For us to be together today to celebrate and honor and respect all the fights and struggles that everyone here has been a part of. It’s nothing short of inspirational. Thank you so much for coming,” she told the crowd gathered at the CSC Homewood location at 2028 Elm Road.
She was happy to be able to resume this fundraiser as an in-person event. During the pandemic, a smaller group gathered for a walk in October 2020. Others walked in their neighborhoods.
Cancer Support Center services were provided primarily online through Zoom sessions. Armato said despite, or because of, the pandemic, more people requested services. The center is back to offering many programs in person.
All programs are offered free of charge, whether it be counseling and support, fitness and physical wellness, nutrition education and special programs.
Illinois Rep. Will Davis, D-Homewood, encouraged supporters at the start of the Walk of Hope. He is happy to support the Cancer Support Center, and said his legislative office is working with the CSC on its Kick It Cancer initiative.
Amy Donnelly used the services through the Cancer Support Center’s Mokena office. She was walking with co-worker Kathy Carey of Homewood.
Elisa Serrato brought out Delia’s Angels, a group of family and friends in honor of her late mother, Delia Gutierrez of Chicago Heights.
“We did a walk with her when she was diagnosed, and she would always go to the cancer center and they were very helpful to our family. In honor of her, we just want to give back,” Serrato said.
Amie Day of Flossmoor said she was thinking of a former colleague who died of cancer. Her family of four joined with three other families for the Walk of Hope.
“We’re here to support our friends and our family members who have struggled with cancer, especially breast cancer, to raise awareness, donate money and to join in this great community event,” she said.
Elaine and David Holst of Homewood were out walking in the memory of Elaine’s friend, Patricia Lundstrom, who died from cancer.
“We worked together when she was diagnosed, and she passed away, but we still want to support the services the Cancer Support Center provides,” Elaine said.
Photos by Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle.