Support for cancer support

Coming at you,  Deb Dunn, Jen Bausman, and  Wendy Gray, teachers all, had a purpose in their stride — to raise money in support of breast cancer treatment and research.
File photo by Ralph Stewart

Coming at you, Deb Dunn, Jen Bausman, and Wendy Gray, teachers all, had a purpose in their stride — to raise money in support of breast cancer treatment and research.

Dozens of walkers headed out from Little Bridge on Beach Road in Oak Bluffs on Saturday morning on a walk that would take them to the Edgartown Lighthouse and back. And it wasn’t just for their health; it was also for the health of their mothers, daughters, sisters, nieces, aunts, and grandmothers who have grappled with breast cancer.

Now in its sixth year, the walk is the principal fundraiser of MV goes Pink, a coalition of local women who are dedicated to affecting change in the community by “raising awareness in terms of cancer research and helping out Islanders who are dealing with cancer and need support,” according to Carol Aranzabe, one of the organizers.

Ninety percent of the approximately $10,000 raised by the walkers and their supporters is donated to the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group (MVCSG), while 10 percent goes to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. MVCSG has no administrative costs and is therefore able to deliver financial aid directly to Islanders in need — women who have lost their jobs because of their illness, for example.

A guiding goal of MV goes Pink is to raise money and awareness on the Island and keep it here. In their work, members have also “realized the power that women have to affect change,” Ms. Aranzabe said, “and it’s also a way to give back to the community.”

Saturday dawned damp and dreary, but it seemed somehow appropriate to race organizers: Last year, the day of the walk was wet and windy, which continued a pattern of poor weather over the last few years. Not to worry, said Sara Ahren of West Tisbury, another organizer. “We rarely have a nice day, it seems, but we walk anyway, because it’s never nice to have cancer.”

Some walkers signed up family and friends to pledge money in their name, others made straightforward donations, and still others supported the effort by buying raffle tickets which were sold at both Stop & Shop in Edgartown and Cronig’s in Vineyard Haven.

Donations of any amount, in memory or honor of any friend or relative, are always welcome. They can be made online at mvgoespink.com.

Evening Under the Stars, the annual fundraising event for the Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group, is coming up next Thursday, May 20, at Mediterranean restaurant on Beach Road in Oak Bluffs, only about a quarter mile north of Little Bridge, where the start of Saturday’s walk started and ended.

For more information, contact the M. V. Cancer Support Group at 508-627-7958. Or send donations to Cancer Support Group, PO Box 2214, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.