(Aug. 7, 2020) Maryland Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events will be “reimagined” this year due to covid-19.
The American Cancer Society has canceled large in-person activities, so all four Maryland Making Strides events will feature creative responses to the pandemic, including virtual elements, survivor celebrations, entertainment and opportunities for teams, individuals and sponsors to come together to fight breast cancer, according to a press release.
The 2020 Maryland Regional Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Livestream Kick Off Rally will take place Thursday, Aug. 13, from 9-10 a.m. RSVP at: Facebook.com/MakingStridesNortheast.
Mary Bellis, senior community development manager, Northeast Region, American Cancer Society Inc., said during the rally the mission of Making Strides will be discussed along with an introduction to the cause and plans for upcoming activities, including Ocean City’s event.
For the past nine years there has been a walk on the Boardwalk to support breast cancer research and awareness.
It was part of the Ocean City Making Strides Against Breast Cancer chapter’s Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach Series, which also included a ladies-only fishing tournament, pickleball round robin, golf tournament, card game and party, Pamper Yourself For Charity Raffle, and mah-jongg competition.
The Pink Ribbon Classic Series was started in 1996 by a group of volunteers. Since its inception, the series has raised about $3.7 million for breast cancer research, awareness, programs and services.
In 2019, more than $332,000 was raised through the Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach Series for American Cancer Society.
Over 700 walked or ran in the Ocean City event last year and several hundred spectators were also on hand.
Because of the coronavirus and social distancing guidelines, the walk and several other events will not take place this year. That is a big blow to fundraising efforts.
“It’s disappointing, but I think we’ll have some new participants because it’s a drive and you don’t have to walk,” Bellis said. “It (money raised) goes to Pink. Everybody has been touched (by cancer) that’s why it’s so important.”
Instead of a walk this October – Breast Cancer Awareness Month – there will be car parades in three Maryland locations, including Ocean City.
The resort event is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, beginning at 9 a.m. in the inlet parking lot.
“It’s a rare opportunity to drive on the Boardwalk,” Bellis said. “I think it will bring some people out who haven’t wanted to walk.”
To learn more, visit www.makingstrideswalk.org/oceancitymd or on Facebook @MakingStridesOC.
Those interested are asked to sign up in advance as the car parade is limited to 300 vehicles. Participants are encouraged to decorate their cars and dress in pink.
“You can socially distance in your car,” Bellis said. “We hope people dress up a bit. We just want it to be fun.”
Participants can submit their fundraising donations online prior to the car parade. Donations will also be safely collected during the parade as well, Bellis said.
The Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open ladies-only fishing tournament scheduled for Aug. 13-15 was canceled as many participants and volunteers are breast cancer survivors, but money is still being raised for the American Cancer Society and apparel is available at ocfishtales.com.
With 925 female anglers last year fishing on 184 boats, organizers donated $140,000 to the American Cancer Society.
“In an abundance of caution and responsibility, we are not going to hold Poor Girls Open this year. We feel it is impossible, because most of our members are cancer survivors,” Shawn Harman, co-director of the tournament and owner of Fish Tales restaurant and Bahia Marina on 22nd Street, bayside, said during the mid-July Facebook Live announcement. “We don’t think we’d be safe. We can’t space the people out enough so we decided to go on a one-year hiatus.”
There will also be no mah-jongg event or card game and party this year. No decision has been made yet about the Pink Ribbon golf tournament.
The Pamper Yourself For Charity Raffle hosted by A Perfect Face Day Spa in West Ocean City will still take place throughout October, Bellis said, and the pickleball round robin is still on.
Pickleball is slated to take place Friday, Oct. 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. hosted by the Ocean Pines Pickleball Club at the Manklin Meadows Sports Complex.
The cost is $35 per person and is open to men and women. Registration deadline is Monday, Sept. 28. For more information, contact Chris Shook at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the car parade or other activities, contact Bellis at Mary.Bellis@cancer.org, OceanCityMDStrides@cancer.org or call 410-749-1635. To learn more about the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-227-2345.
Bellis said some services are being offer again and others are in the process of coming back due to covid-19.
Cancer Survivors Network is always available at www.cancer.org, a 24-hour-a-day cancer information center; and 1-800-227-2345 for patients to access ACS services.
Since the pandemic began, 70-80 percent of calls have been related to covid-19.
In addition, resources for caregivers, information on screening and prevention, and referral to local, regional and national outlets is available.
According to the American Cancer Society, as a result of the pandemic, screenings for breast, cervical and colon cancer are down between 86 and 94 percent.
“Delaying screenings may be unfortunate for some,” Bellis said.
Studies estimate that reduced screenings, as well as delayed surgeries and failure to complete chemotherapy treatments will result in nearly 34,000 excess cancer deaths, according to the cancer society.