Angela DiMichele started wearing a pink shoelace on her right shoe shortly after her breast cancer diagnosis to remind her of the love and support she received from Brest Friends Support Group Foundation.
With each right step she takes, she can make a difference, DiMichele said. At the Footsteps to Hope 5K run and walk fundraiser Sept. 20, the whole community can join her in taking the right step to make a difference and support Breast Friends.
Breast Friends offers more than a support group, DiMichele, event organizer and Breast Friends vice president, said. The organization, operated by cancer survivors, brings women with cancer to their doctors’ appointments, delivers meals and gift cards to them and even watches their kids.
Breast Friends Support Group Foundation operates out of Windsor and provides help and care to women living in northern Colorado diagnosed with female cancers, Debbie Martin, foundation founder, said Tuesday.
Last year the foundation held its first Footsteps to Hope fundraiser and this year the event grew. Originally a family walk, this year’s event includes a 5K run, kids’ activities, a silent auction and hot air balloons. One hot air balloon pilot will debut a pink aircraft at the fundraiser, Martin said.
The town of Windsor partnered with Breast Friends for the fundraiser, along with other community organizations who will help in many different ways, such as the Windsor Lions Club, which will assist with the silent auction, Martin said.
“We take care of the moms and the sisters and the neighbors and the women who take care of us,” she said, “but we need help.” Through the fundraiser, the community can help Breast Friends help the community, she said.
The love Breast Friends showed her, DiMichele said, prompted her involvement in the organization. Now a survivor, she wanted to help other women with cancer just like the foundation supported her.
“I’ve had 29 surgeries in four years,” DiMichele said, but it was while recovering from her third surgery, three years ago, when she met Martin. “I would wake up from either surgery or the hyperbaric chamber and I would find all these flowers all over my room, and I had no clue where they came from.” She was told a woman came to visit her and brought the flowers, tried to wait until she woke up, but had to leave before she woke.
DiMichele had her surgery in November and the flowers and missed visits continued through December until she needed emergency surgery on Christmas Eve. While waiting to go into her surgery, in walked Martin with a cupcake, flowers, a Christmas tree and an angel, she said. “If I wasn’t late for that surgery I would have missed her again.”
When she finally met the woman who had brought her flowers and sat with her while she slept, “I already loved her,” DiMichele said. Even when she went home, Martin brought her meals and cards from the women at the support group. “That helped me through it. I felt loved.”
Since then the two have become each other’s “best breast friend,” they both said. With Footsteps to Hope, they want to bring the community together to help them help other women with cancer the way Martin helped DiMichele.
The run and walk both begin at 9 a.m. at 100 N. Fifth St. in Windsor. Runners and walkers can preregister for the event online at www.bfcancersupportgroup.org, for $30 per person, children ages 10 and below are free. Participants can also register in person on the day of the event for $35.
For more information about the event, or sponsorship opportunities, contact Martin at (970) 482-2059 or DiMichele at (970) 281-2135.