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Events raise awareness, money for breast cancer

In honor of October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, two major fundraising events are once again taking place on opposite ends of the valley.

The 11th annual Rose Regatta Dragon Boat Festival is scheduled for two days this year, Oct. 12 and 13, at Lake Las Vegas. The American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer takes place Oct. 27, starting at Red Rock Resort.

Dragon boats are long boats seating from 18 to 20 people consisting of paddlers, a helmsman and a drummer who sets the speed and synchronicity of the paddlers. The boats are colorfully decorated with Chinese dragon heads and tails.

Competing Oct. 12 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. will be local corporate and community teams in 250-meter placement heats and finals; mixed women’s club division teams in 250-meter seeding heats; a 911 first-responders race; a breast cancer survivor race featuring a special Flowers on the Water ceremony consisting of a blessing and prayer; and mixed and women’s club divisions in 125-meter knockout series for qualifying teams.

Taking place Oct. 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. are mixed and women’s club divisions competing in the 500-meter semifinals and finals; a 911 first-responder race; a breast cancer survivor race with Flowers on the Water Ceremony and mixed women’s club division team competitions in a 125-meter knockout series.

All proceeds raised benefit Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican’s RED (Responsible Early Detection) Rose Program.

According to Holly Lyman, director of community health at Dignity Health, to date, $1.02 million has been raised for the RED Rose Program. The money has been used to provide 3,748 mammograms, 3,076 ultrasounds, 739 biopsies and 88 breast cancer diagnoses.

Also, some 483 women undergoing treatment have been provided approximately $1 million in financial support through the Susan G. Komen Foundation to cover rent payments, utilities, groceries and transportation.

“I would be happy to raise $25,000 this year,” race director Terry Maurer said. “We’re hoping to get 60 teams both locally and from out-of-state.”

“The RED Rose Regatta represents in one stroke, so many aspects of the healing mission of Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican,” Lyman said. “It’s about coming together as a community, working together to support people in their time of need, celebrating healthy living and having fun outdoors with friends on the water. It truly encompasses our mission of healing mind, body and spirit.”

To register for the races, to donate or to get more information, email Terry Maurer at terry@lvdragonboatclub.com, call 702-497-3385 or visit lvdragonboatclub.com

The Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk takes place Oct. 27 in Las Vegas to raise money and shine a spotlight on breast cancer, which is expected to affect some 268,000 newly diagnosed women in 2019.

The Las Vegas 3- to 5-mile noncompetitive walk starts at Red Rock Resort on West Charleston Boulevard and heads west up Charleston Boulevard, passing over the 215 Beltway toward Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The event starts with a 7 a.m. check-in, 8 a.m. opening ceremony and the walk getting underway at 8:30 a.m.

Breast cancer survivors, caregivers, men and women in support of breast cancer treatments and research are expected to jam the boulevard in a sea of pink T-shirts and other pink garb.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Making Strides in Las Vegas. In 2018, approximately 30,000 people participated in the walk, raising $750,000. This year, more than 30,000 people are expected to attend with a goal of raising $935,000. Corporate teams and individuals are encouraged to participate by raising donations and volunteering services.

“This is one of the largest walks in Nevada and one of the largest walks on the West Coast,” said Samantha Molinero, community development manager. “This is a great event to participate in. Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer.”

Molinero said people can participate in the Making Strides event in several ways including doing the walk themselves, raising donations, encouraging their social media followers to participate, volunteering for setup crews, working the registration desk or simply cheering people participating in the walk.

This year’s emcees include Steph MacKenzie from 97.1 FM The Point and Latoya Silmon, news anchor at KSNV-TV, Channel 3. Music and entertainment are being provided by Jodi Harris with Sight and Sound Events.

OptumCare Cancer Center is the presenting sponsor for this year’s Making Strides event in Las Vegas. Recognized as one of the two largest cancer treatment centers in Nevada, the 10-physician medical group has donated approximately $12,500 this year, according to Medical Director Russell Gollard, an oncology, hematology and internal medicine physician.

“We make sure we spearhead programs in the community by advising patients of resources available to them,” Gollard said. “We stress to people how important it is for them to follow up with their primary care physician. And they must do screenings for breast cancer and colon cancer. … Many people get their care through the emergency room, and that’s not efficient. They need to see a primary care physician and not wait until they have symptoms.”

As part of the post-events at the Making Strides, OptumCare will be honoring breast cancer survivors and advising individuals on resources available to receive proper medical care.

For more information, visit makingstrideswalk.org/lasvegas or contact Samantha Molinero at 702-891-9016 or email her at lasvegasnvstrides@cancer.org.

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