Take a Walk at the Zoo to Help Local Women Fight Breast Cancer!

By: Kate Chidester | April 16, 2013
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If you’ve been itching for a nice day to take the family to the zoo, or you’re determined to get out for a good brisk walk, why not combine the two and support a great cause at the same time?

The 7th Annual Shades of Pink Walk at the Zoo will take place on Saturday, April 27, and participants will have the opportunity to walk a mapped route of either one, three, or six miles through the Detroit Zoo. The event was created by Shades of Pink Foundation (SOPF) to celebrate friends, family and breast cancer survivors.

The Walk at the Zoo provides participants with a fun day of activities, including an all day pass to the zoo. The event will raise money to provide assistance to women experiencing financial difficulties following their breast cancer diagnosis. All of the proceeds go directly back into the local community. The walk is SOPF’s largest fundraising event, and it provides the majority of the funding used to fulfill the organization’s mission.

Having completed other cancer walks at the Detroit Zoo, Shades of Pink Co-Founder Dr. Pamela Benitez knew it would be the perfect venue to hold the SOPF walk. Jan Wade, Zoo Walk Co-chair and a breast cancer survivor herself, brought several new people to the organization leading to the creation of the Walk Committee. Dr. Benitez explained that Jan’s dedication and skills are a huge part of what helped to make the walk what it is today.

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This year’s walk is on pace to host over 2,000 participants, including over 50 teams.  Everyone is invited to join the fun as an individual walker, a member of a team or simply a supporter of the organization.

“The Zoo Walk is growing as people understand what Shades of Pink Foundation does.  There are generous people and businesses that want to give to our community,” said Wade. “We are local, give to local women and are an all-volunteer organization.  We have lots of fun.”

As SOPF continues to grow, so does the outpouring of support from the local community. Nancy Hoag, an officer for SOPF, says that each time she has spoken about the organization and its mission, people are eager to get involved.

“I think the plunge in the economy the last few years has hit close to home for many and they see how financially you can get into trouble with just a few extra medical bills,” said Hoag. “There is a great personal satisfaction knowing that I have relieved some of the stress that a woman may feel during their breast cancer diagnosis.”

Last year, SOPF implemented a new strategy to help get teens involved in their mission.  Students from Birmingham Seaholm High School formed a Teen Council group to help with the walk. The council has become an integral part of getting the word out about the event through the use of social media. They also assist with a multitude of activities and fundraising.

Registration for the event grants individuals access to pre-walk breakfast snacks and beverages, a day pass to the zoo, shopping with vendors, face painting and more. The walk not only supports the local community and Shades of Pink Foundation, but also the Detroit Zoo. The cost for registration is $40 for adults and $30 for children 6-17, while children 5 and under are free. Visit www.shadesofpinkfoundation.org for additional walk details and to register!