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Making Strides Against Breast Cancer breakfast stirs inspiration

The bad news: 246,000 Americans will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

The better news: 95 percent of those Americans will pass the five-year survivorship mark.

“I usually tell patients it’s a challenging diagnosis but they will get through it,” said Dr. Jennifer Ray, a radiologist and director of women’s services at Southtowns Radiology.

Ray joined hundreds of others Thursday morning for the American Cancer Society breakfast to set the stage for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, slated for Oct. 15 at Canalside.

The noncompetitive, inspirational walk wills start at 10 a.m., an hour after a new associated 5K run sponsored by AXA Advisors.

Singer Sara Dell, of Toronto, performed at the breakfast and told the audience she has been diagnosed with cancer. She is scheduled to have surgery next week. See the lyrics for "Happy Ending," a song she wrote about her experience and sang Thursday, at

Dozens of breast cancer survivors, loved ones and community leaders pledged during the breakfast to help raise money for breast cancer support, treatment and research.

Last year, more than 10,000 walkers in Buffalo raised more than $470,000.

Cancer Society officials said for every $1 raised for the society in Western New York, $4 is returned for cancer research.

“I sincerely hope to be out of a job someday ... all of that is because of research,” Dr. Jessica Young, breast cancer surgeon and director of breast cancer risk reduction at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, told those gathered in the Lexus Club at First Niagara Center.

She wished for a day when daughters and granddaughters of those in the room “might take a blood test to ID risk and take a pill to prevent it.”

In encouraging those gathered in the room – and in the general public – to support the October walk, and the cancer society, master of ceremonies Michael Crisona, senior market manager for the society’s Eastern Upstate New York Division, said, “You don’t have to have a Ph.D. or wield a scalpel to fight breast cancer.”

Another message from Crisono: Those diagnosed with cancer need not fight alone.

Survivors who gathered for the breakfast each received a pink rose toward the end of the breakfast program and, according to organizers, represented 373 years of breast cancer survivorship.

For more information on the Making Strides Walk, or to register, visit; those seeking support from the cancer society and its programs can visit

The Regional Walk is presented by MassMutual of Buffalo.


Twitter: @BNrefresh

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