Organizers for the annual Bedford County Pink Ribbon Fund’s walk and 5k run are gearing up for a fun event that supports services for local breast cancer patients.

The walk is set for Oct. 19 starting with registration at 9 a.m. at Bedford Middle School.

Before the start of the walk at 10 a.m. there’s a range of activities at the ceremony, including disc jockeys Shane Imler and Dan Wakefield and zumba to warm up the walkers. The 5K run is set to start at 8 a.m.

Volunteers will be selling shirts as fundraisers — long-sleeved pink shirts for $25 each and short-sleeved gray T-shirts for $20 each.

Amy Mearkle, Bedford County native and spokeswoman for DelGrosso’s Amusement Park, will lead the ceremony that will be highlighted by remarks from survivor chairwoman, Tisia Maxwell, a breast cancer survivor.

Katherine Erlichman, local opthalmologist and chairwoman of the Pink Ribbon Fund, said the event will include “lots of music, lots of hoopla, lots of celebration of life.”

The best part about the Pink Ribbon fundraiser is perhaps not the fun of the walk as much as what the money raised does for patients who need the services the funds raised provide.

Erlichman said when the allocations committee, headed by Brandi Hershey, also a breast cancer survivor, is able to help someone with financial needs, that’s the ultimate good feeling.

“It makes us feel awesome,” Erlichman said. The allocation committee’s “favorite thing is delivering funds to someone who’s been kicked in the gut and told they have breast cancer.

“The smile is unending, from ear to ear, that someone understands what they’re gong through.”

Hershey said the fund was able to help about 30 breast cancer patients in the past year with a range of financial help — gas cards, paying medical and doctor bills, etc.

Hershey said another branch of the fund will be the formation of a breast cancer survivors support group.

She and the Pink Ribbon Fund are working with UPMC not only on Mammography Day, set for Oct. 22 (see related story), but also formation of the group.

“For a lot of us who have been through this, there’s a real need for it in this area,” Hershey said. In addition to dealing with treatments, surgeries and other physical tolls breast cancer can take, there’s the emotional drain of stress and worry.

“There’s a need to administer to your emotional health,” she said. “It helps when you can talk with other survivors.”

Kellie Goodman Shaffer, also with the Pink Ribbon Fund, said the organization has been successful because of its leadership.

“I think a large part of it is from survivors who are leaders in the community anyway.” Erlichman, Hershey, and others lend their stories and their passion to the effort.

“Nobody wants to be someone who’s set aside (as a breast cancer survivor) but, gosh, they are so full of grace and courage and for them to share that to other people is really amazing to me,” Shaffer said.

The walk will end at the Omni Bedford Springs’ mill where donors will supply water and snacks.

Before the walk is a 5K run that is part of Bedford Rotary’s race series.

To register or donate, visit the Pink Ribbon Fund website, bedfordcountypinkribbonfund.com.

The walk is $10 per person and the 5K run is $15 to register. Registration for the run ends 8 p.m. Oct. 17 and for the walk, 6 p.m. on Oct. 18.

The Bedford County Pink Ribbon Fund is managed by the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies under the Bedford County Endowments.

Contact Elizabeth Coyle at ecoyle@bedfordgazette.com; 623-1151, ext. 105.

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