About 1,000 turn out for breast cancer walk at Watt Farms

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – The 10th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk at Watt Farms drew about 1,000 people this morning at the farm on Route 98.

In the top photo, Melinda Maedl, business and community liaison for the Iroquois Job Corps Center in Medina, waves and leads a group at the beginning of the walk.

Karen Watt, a breast cancer survivor, addresses the crowd before the walk. Gene Christopher is pictured in lower right. His wife Judy fought breast cancer. She died at age 70 on Aug. 3, 2013.

Organizers of the walk set a $55,000 goal for today’s event. Watt said some of that money will go to advance cancer research. She said Orleans County is fortunate to be between major cancer research facilities in Buffalo and Rochester.

Karen Watt is pictured with two of her employees who are both breast cancer survivors. Melanie Vanacore, center, was diagnosed in July and Elizabeth “Perk” Banker was diagnosed five years ago. Watt is a 10-year survivor.

Watt said 70 Orleans County residents are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. In the 10 years of the walk at the Watt Farms, about 700 people in the county have been diagnosed with breast cancer, Watt said.

About 1,000 people were out walking in the orchards at Watt Farms for the breast cancer walk this morning.

There were 23 students from the Iroquois Job Corps in Medina on the walk today. Students sold ribbons and competed in a dorm vs. dorm event to raise $350 for the cause.

Participants ventured past the pond in the orchard on the 5-kilometer route.

Members of the CSEA employee union in Orleans County are pictured before the walk. County employees raised about $1,000 for the walk. Pictured, in back from left include: Debbie Sherk, Paula Bensely, Linette Kropp, union president Cindy Troy, and Alexis Montes and Johanna Cuadra whose mother Diana Kephart works for the county.

The two girls in front, Gracelynn and Isabelle Perkins, are Troy’s granddaughters.

Robbi Hess of Albion, center, is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed 2 years, 3 months and 11 days ago. She had a mammogram just before her 50th birthday, and had surgery and radiation. She is pictured with her sister Cheryl Sipple of Medina, left, and cousin Pam Gray of Medina. The three raised $400 for today’s walk.

Hess volunteers as a mentor with the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester, connecting with women recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She also is active on the Cancer Survivors Facebook page, arranging for people with cancer to receive cards in the mail.

Members of the Elba football and soccer teams gather for a picture before today’s walk at Watt Farms.