Capital Region unites to fight breast cancer in breast cancer walk held in Washington Park

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Thousands laced up to fight breast cancer during the annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk on Sunday.

“Seventeen years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I had no family history and as you can imagine I was in complete shock, but with a lot of support from the community family and friends, I am here today to talk about it,” said Michele Kollmer, breast cancer survivor of 17 years and Senior Manager of the American Cancer Society. “Early detection is key. Go talk to your doctor, that’s so important, be your own advocate. I think it’s just important because you can help others who may be going through the same thing.”

Washington Park was painted pink to show support for people like Kollmer, who have in their past, or are currently battling breast cancer.

Among all of the pink swag in the park, the survivor tent is where the gravity of a positive breast cancer diagnosis hits home. Others are saved by the word of your testimony.

“At 42-years-old, you don’t want to hear that you have a life-threatening illness, so from the minute they told me I had cancer and that I was going to have to have surgery and chemo therapy, I knew that I was going to fight and try to survive this for my family and my friends,” said Michelle Wyanski, breast cancer survivor of four years. “You don’t really have time to think.”

Four years later, Wyanski is cancer free, but just two months ago, her mom was given a positive breast cancer diagnosis.

However, this family is ready to keep fighting back, from the inside and out.

“I was able to have full range of motion immediately after my surgery because I was in such good shape, and I really feel that follow-through after breast cancer surgery of any kind is critical to keep exercising and to keep your body in good shape as far as even pre-cancer,” said Marie Mangione, breast cancer survivor of two months.

“It can happen to anyone,” Wyanksi said. “Statistics show that 3,600 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the U.S., and 1 in 8 women are diagnosed every year, so it’s very close to you. Be vigilant, stay healthy and get your yearly mammogram done.”

“Fight, fight for it, really,” Mangione adds.

The American Cancer Society reported that the walk raised $772,000, and about 16,000 walkers came out for the event.

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