SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — If you drove by Destiny U.S.A on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., chances are, you saw a lot of pink!
The American Cancer Society and Upstate Medical University’s Cancer Center hosted their annual ‘Making Strides’ breast cancer awareness event, which was a safe drive-thru.
Though COVID-19 has forced the traditional event’s layout to change, Tracey Burkey, a breast cancer survivor and Vice Chair of the American Cancer Society Board is sharing her journey to help spread awareness.
It was March 24, 2015 when Burkey’s life instantly changed, after she almost skipped her mammogram appointment.
I kind of questioned, ‘Do I really need to go do this? I can skip a few months or a year,’ but something made me go and just make sure and to check it off my list of things to do, and thank God I did, because I did find out I had breast cancer.Tracey Burkey, Survivor and Vice Chair, American Cancer Society Board
After numerous surgeries, chemotherapy and a long road to recovery, Burkey now gets to call herself a survivor.
Her journey is just one of many that’s celebrated at the ‘Making Strides of Syracuse’ event.
The parking lots at Destiny U.S.A. were filled with Upstate cancer program tents, decorated cars, raffles, music and a community of survivors and their families.
“As with all things in our community, we’ve had to rethink how we come together as a community, to come together to still celebrate important events, come together just to support each other,” explained Ranjna Sharma, Medical Director of Upstate’s Breast Cancer program.
“People can be outside, getting some fresh air, socially distant, so we’re still being respectful of everything that’s still going on in the community as well,” Sharma said.
For survivors like Burkey, seeing the community come together to spread awareness of breast cancer is critical, especially at events like this.
Events like this just bring people together, the camaraderie and seeing fellow survivors out there and being able to celebrate all of what we’ve been through.
We’ve all shared a journey and understand what each other has gone through, the fear that you face, and honestly the blessings as you go through the journey…the friends that you meet, the supporters that you find.Tracey Burkey, Survivor and Vice Chair, American Cancer Society Board
If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment with Upstate University’s mobile mammography van, click here or call (315) 464-2582.
For more information on Upstate’s breast cancer program, click here.