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Making great ‘Strides’

Brock Garlach 4 Wheatfield Ind. dances along with others before annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk Oct. 7 2012

Brock Garlach, 4, of Wheatfield, Ind., dances along with others before the annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 7, 2012, at Old Fairgrounds Park in Valparaiso, Ind. His grandmother survived cancer. | Michael Gard~For Sun-Times Media

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† For more information about Making Strides against Breast Cancer, visit the website www.MakingStridesWalk.org.

† For more information about breast cancer, visit the website www.cancer.org or call (800) 227-2345.

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Updated: November 13, 2012 6:14AM



Jane Petrone of Wanatah will celebrate her second anniversary as a breast cancer survivor in November.

In a weird twist of fate, she signed up to participate in a Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, in South Bend two years ago. By the time the walk came around, she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“When I saw all that support and all those survivors, it really does a heart good,” she said before participating in the Making Strides Walk at Old Fairgrounds Park on Sunday to show others they, too, can beat the disease. “Maybe I can be a hope for them.”

Petrone was one of almost 60 breast cancer survivors in the walk, which drew an estimated 1,100 participants, many clad in pink, and raised nearly $50,000 for breast cancer support, awareness and research, event organizers said.

A similar event at Hidden Lake Park in Merrillville is expected to draw more than 2,500 walkers, and will include the chance to enroll in a cancer prevention study.

All the walkers in Valparaiso touched Petrone.

“It is truly amazing to see the support,” she said. “When you’re diagnosed, it’s kind of a desperate, lonely feeling until you see something like this. It’s the medicine that gets us through it.”

Tasha Quiroz shared her family’s experience with the disease. Her father was diagnosed with breast cancer, and died more than two years ago.

Quiroz said he had been overweight and underwent gastric bypass surgery when, a year later, he noticed one of his nipples was inverted. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and had his left breast removed.

His family, including Quiroz, served as his caregivers for five years before he died. Because men make up a small minority of those who suffer from breast cancer, he had difficulty finding a support group, and most of the treatments were geared toward women. He ultimately underwent eight rounds of chemotherapy and took part in two Making Strides Walks as a cancer survivor.

“For every man out there — you are not immune,” Quiroz said. “You can get it.”



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