GEDDES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Thousands hit the pavement at the Great New York State Fairgrounds Saturday.
Amongst the crowd is the Deboni team, which has been participating for more than 20 years.
“It’s just enjoyable to be outside and be together and to have this one thing together,” Said Francine Peczynski, A member of the Deboni team and a breast cancer survivor.
Breast cancer is what connects them, but what really brings them together is that they’re all patients of the same doctor, Dr. Deboni. He performed his first reconstructive surgery on Francine, now a cancer survivor for 27 years.
“He just did such wonderful work and at that time, this surgery wasn’t available in Syracuse. So, the fact that we could have our own bodies and feel good about them again, was one of the reasons why,” Peczynski said.
In it’s 25th year, the walk helps survivors, family members, and friends get through this journey together. It’s something you may not have seen decades ago, when some say they couldn’t even talk about their breast cancer.
“Back in the old days, everybody was afraid they could catch it. But nobody understood it, everybody was afraid of it. There were no groups to go to, we had nothing. We were lucky if we could find a friend,” Peczynski said.
Which is why seeing thousands of people show up for breast cancer is unique. But it’s not just the conversation that’s changed over the years, we know more now, too.
“First of all, early detection. Women using their language to talk about breast cancer, to share information with each other. We now know it’s a family of diseases. We now know that it’s very treatable,” said Kate Flannery, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen, Upstate New York.
And we know those going through the disease need events like these for support.
“To have faith and hope. You will get through it no matter how much you think you won’t. There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel,” Peczynski said.
There were a few changes to the event this year to make it more inclusive, it’s no longer a race, but just a walk. Organizers also got rid of some of the expenses so they could put more money into their mission. The 2019 More Than Pink run brought in more than $300,000.