BY PENNY DICKERSON
When Valencia Robinson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, she joined the ranks of more than 40,000 African-American women in Florida with the disease and is now one more champion who claims survivorship.
She also is the first Black woman in the Volusia/Flagler County area to serve as event chair for the 2015 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk that kicked off in August at the Daytona Beach Shores Resort and Spa.
The Making Strides event is an affiliate of the American Cancer Society and its foremost function is the popular “sea of pink” walk-a-thon to be held Saturday, Oct. 31 at Riverfront Park in Daytona Beach as the culmination of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Advocates for awareness
Last year’s local fundraiser boasted approximately 10,000 participants and garnered close to $369,000 raised through local teams comprised of businesses, churches and organizations, families and individuals. They are all advocates with the same goals: to build awareness and find a cure for one of the leading causes of death among women.
“I never did self-breast exams before being diagnosed with breast cancer. I was a busy mother of four who never took the time and never knew I needed to,” admitted Robinson, who further emphasized that African-American women need to take time for themselves, conduct monthly breast exams, exercise regularly, and eat a healthy diet.
When cancer hits home
Rakita Dozier was a sophomore enrolled at Bethune-Cookman University when her mother succumbed to breast cancer in 2011. The death was devastating but with the help of her spiritual family at Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church, Dozier graduated from college in 2014 and continues to rely on her ministry as a healthy surrogate.
“She is a member of our church, and we have been helping her financially and spiritually deal with the loss of her mother,” said Robinson, who describes Dozier as their gifted and anointed praise and worship leader.
From diagnosis to donations
Funds raised during the Making Strides campaign will help the American Cancer Society do the most for those who are currently dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis, those may face a diagnosis in the future, and those who may avoid a diagnosis altogether thanks to education and risk reduction.
“I am reaching out to the African-American community, specifically businesses and individuals to support this walk,” said Robinson. “We need you to assist through generous financial and/or in-kind donations such as water, healthy snacks and more.”
A large number of volunteers are needed to help register participants and set-up logistics the day prior to the walk on Friday, Oct. 30. An appeal to recruit more team leaders is also underway as they play a vital role to not only raise awareness and funds but also recruit more participants and volunteers. Most importantly, they rally those around them to help finish the fight against breast cancer.
For more information, contact Valencia Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 386-753-4526.