The American Cancer Society's 24th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, at the Riverfront Park in Daytona Beach, where people affected by breast cancer will walk to raise awareness of the disease.
“It’s a great time for people to come together and just know that they’re not in this fight alone," said Dr. Ashley Lentz of board-certified Lentz Plastic Surgery. "One in eight women have breast cancer. That’s a huge number.”
This will be Lentz's first year doing the Making Strides walk, and many of her breast reconstruction patients will be joining her. She said they work to give women hope after going through breast cancer and that their job is to help women reclaim what they lost to the disease. The Making Strides walk is one opportunity to come together outside of a medical office and show women they have a support system.
“Now it’s all about quality of life," Lentz said. "It’s all about giving her, her breasts back, her femininity.”
Port Orange resident Kimberly Erickson is one of the patients joing Lentz during the Making Strides walk. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in April this year, and she said everything moved very quickly after the first diagnosis. Erickson went into her doctor's office for a routine mammogram and within a few months she had undergone a double mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery where Lentz took skin and muscle from her back to form new breasts.
“I have scars everywhere, but you know?" Erickson said. "What are you gonna do?”
She will be participating in the 3.2 mile walk with her husband, who has stuck by her side through it all. Erickson hopes Making Strides will help raise awareness for breast cancer so that the medical industry and corporations will continue to search for a cure.
Overall, Erickson remains positive and said she is lucky to have great family and medical support through her journey.
“You can go to those dark places you know, but you just can’t focus on that," Erickson said. "You just have to continue to live your life and move on.”