From Randall's Island to Pier 84, Manhattan was a sea of tutus and tiaras as one of the year's biggest breast cancer walks wrapped up its two-day trek around the city. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.
Thousands of women and men were thinking pink as the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer made its way around Manhattan. It is not a race, but a show of dedication as participants walked up to 26.2 miles on Saturday, followed by 13.1 miles on Sunday. That is equivalent to one-and-a-half marathons.
"It's not that bad. It's not that bad. Much easier than chemo," said participant Jill Fanuzzi.
Melissa Morse is one of 400 breast cancer survivors who walked among the sea of 3,400 pink-clad participants.
"So far I'm here and I can walk 40 miles, so that's the best news ever," Morse said.
Morse and fellow survivors said so much support and positive energy has a healing power all its own.
"I'm grateful, I'm thankful. It's just overwhelming," said Morse.
"Makes me feel good and to be a part of it, it really feels good. Really feels good," said Hazel Techiera, another survivor.
"I think being a survivor you definitely don't feel like you are alone," said survivor Cindy Sharkey.
Each walker was required to raise a minimum of $1,800, but many raised much more. Some of it goes to research but much of it stays local, supporting a number of services from detection to treatment and beyond.
"We fund programs that link people to free mammograms, that help people pay for transportation and child care so that they can get to their doctor's appointment and get screenings so it's really, really important," said Avon Walk program director Eloise Caggiano.
Someone in the United States, male or female, is diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes.
"It's amazing to see how many people are affected by it. It's a scary statistic," said participant Dan Williamson.
Yet there is plenty to cheer about, since events like this are helping make significant strides.
Caggiano, who is also a breast cancer survivor, said when Avon's crusade began 20 years ago, the survival rate was 75 percent. It is now 85 percent or higher.
"For people diagnosed early, and this is where early detection is really important, the five-year survival rate is 95 percent," Caggiano said.
"Go get your mammograms! It's very important," said Techiera.
For more information, visit avonwalk.org.