This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer. But don’t let the name of the event fool you. The Atlanta 2-Day Walk each October benefits breast cancer programs throughout the state, including two nonprofit organizations in Rome.
The unique aspect of the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer is that all money raised stays in Georgia.
Produced by It’s The Journey Inc., event proceeds fund grants awarded to breast health programs statewide. And two of the organizations that have received these critical grants in Rome are Cancer Navigators and Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition Inc.
Dr. Denise Crawley, a family physician on faculty at the Floyd Family Medicine Residency Program, understands how beneficial the Atlanta 2-Day Walk can be for local patients. She sees the need for breast health programs in the community first hand and recognizes the importance of funding organizations that provide essential services. She also has personal motivation for her involvement with the event.
“I began participating in breast cancer walks when my mother was in the final stages of metastatic breast cancer,” Crawley explained. “I walk because I do not want my daughters to go through what I did watching my mother succumb to this horrible disease. I have also been affected by many patients over the years suffering from breast cancer, so I plan to keep walking as long as I can. Participating in the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for the first time last year was a lot of fun, so our team is getting ready to ‘Do the 2’ again this October. I also love knowing that all money raised during the event stays in Georgia.”
The Atlanta 2-Day Walk covers 30 miles, with this year’s 10th anniversary event set for Oct. 6-7. Walkers follow a route through scenic in-town Atlanta neighborhoods, spending one night at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel. Participants have the option to walk both Saturday and Sunday and raise $1,000 in donations, or to walk on Sunday only for just 10 miles and raise $500 in donations.
During the event’s 10-year history, It’s The Journey’s Atlanta 2-Day Walk has generated $8 million in funding, resulting in 169 grants to breast health programs across the state that provide screening and diagnosis, treatment, education and support services. And every step that’s taken during the event benefits more than 100,000 Georgians each year.
The recipient of a 2012 grant from It’s The Journey, the Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition in Rome coordinates a program with the local public health district to provide breast biopsies for women in an eight-county area.
“With the funding this year from It’s The Journey, our organization has a resource to cover the cost of breast biopsies for uninsured indigent women who do not qualify for any other public assistance,” said Gena B. Askew, executive director of the Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition. “Many times women cannot receive emergency Medicaid benefits until they have a positive diagnosis of cancer, but they can’t afford the biopsy that would provide the diagnosis. It’s The Journey is a wonderful organization to reach throughout Georgia to help with projects like these by bridging the gaps that unfortunately occur in health care.”
In 2011, It’s The Journey awarded a grant to Rome’s first recipient of Atlanta 2-Day Walk funding, Cancer Navigators. The local nonprofit serves the community as a complement to the medical expertise of cancer care providers by guiding patients toward a better understanding of diagnosis and care, and connecting them with needed resources.
“Partnerships with grant organizations are paramount for developing specialized programs and services for patients,” said Charlotte Atkins, Cancer Navigators executive director. “That’s why It’s The Journey is so vital. Through past funding from their Atlanta 2-Day Walk, we’ve been able to develop and bolster our breast cancer nurse navigation program and ensure that area breast cancer patients we serve have the support and information they need. The Komen event draws folks from the Rome region, but none of that money comes to our area — they only fund 10 counties in metro Atlanta. However, funding from the Atlanta 2-Day Walk is available to groups like ours all over the state.”
In addition to the two Rome organizations that have received Atlanta 2-Day Walk funding, It’s The Journey awarded a grant to another area nonprofit this year — Northwest Georgia Healthcare Partnership in Dalton.
Rome’s only walking group for the event to date, Team Rack Attack, includes Crawley, Nicole Swiger, Tracey Davis, Melanie Drinkard, Valerie Miller, Amy Knitig, Candace Little and Deborah Dudley. The group is actively recruiting more members.
Team Rack Attack will host a comedy benefit Saturday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. upstairs at the Old Havana Cigar Co. at 327 Broad St. in Rome. The benefit will feature comedy, music and a raffle, with proceeds going to the team’s Atlanta 2-Day Walk fundraising efforts.
To join the Rome team for the Atlanta 2-Day Walk or to support the group with a donation, contact Crawley at 706-331-3272 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information about the Atlanta 2-Day Walk for Breast Cancer, visit www.2daywalk.org, email email@example.com or call 404-531-4111.