ST. CLOUD - For nine years, the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk has allowed survivors the chance to share their stories of hope and life with those who need to hear them most.

On Saturday, hundreds of people walked along with survivors and many others who have been personally affected by breast cancer on a three mile walk on the campus of St. Cloud State University.

Arlene Omlid has been a part of the walk since day one and is on the committee for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She says every year they start the event the same way.

"We have our survivors walk when the event begins, which is just awesome. It is great to see everyone from year to year."

Omlid says the event has grown in nine years, and a lot of that is because of the great support from St. Cloud State University.

"The second year we did it we got St. Cloud State involved which has really been a blessing. They get their kids involved and they make it happen."

Dee Rengel is a 16-year breast cancer survivor and member of the making strides committee. Rengel's battle with breast cancer came at a time when there was not as much coverage or awareness of the disease. She say she is happy to be a part of the movement that brings more attention to breast cancer.

"When I went through my battle is was almost medieval compared to now. There is a lot more research now and awareness. I am excited to be a part of events like this to raise more awareness. I don't think there are enough words to describe how one feels when people get together to do something to help people,"

Mary Potter -- who met Rengel after her own battle with breast cancer a few years ago -- says knowing someone who is a 16-year-survivor brings her hope for the future.

"To know that Dee is a 16-year-survivor you have no idea how nice that is as somebody coming in to this experience. Knowing these women who are still around helps me know of course I am going to make it, of course I am going to be fine."

Women like Potter and Rengel inspire women and families who have been affected by breast cancer. While their stories are enough to inspire by themselves, both women had words of encouragement for those fighting this awful disease.

"I know your scared. Use every avenue possible to take care of the cancer. Never lose faith no matter how bad the day is. If you need to cry than just do it but just keep the faith. Right now my oldest grandchild is 13, if I lost the faith I would never have known a single one of my sweet grand kids."

 

"You have no idea how many people are on your side. Like Dee said your scared when you get that diagnosis. But don't be scared to go to your doctor to start talking about your options. Look for those that are on your side cause they are every where."

According to Cancer.org over 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer related death in women, only behind lung cancer.

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