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Walking the Walk

October 27, 2011

John R. Seffrin, Ph.D., chief executive officer, American Cancer Society


As we do every October, this weekend my wife Carole and I will participate in our local American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. We will be taking our place among some 14,000 people at the event and 800,000 walking nationwide to do our part to make further progress in breast cancer research, early detection, and treatment. The Society launched Making Strides Against Breast cancer in 1993, and every October takes us closer to a world with less breast cancer and more birthdays.

Over the years the Making Strides program has helped raise more than $400 million to fight breast cancer, enabling the American Cancer Society to play a role in nearly every major breakthrough against the disease in that time. The results have been remarkable. There are now more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, and if it is found early, the survival rate is an astonishing 99 percent!

These figures are not just academic. They represent real life stories, including my own. Carole was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, and thanks to catching her disease at the earliest, most treatable stage, she made a full recovery, and continues to lead a healthy and happy life. A generation ago, before Making Strides, her prognosis would not have been nearly as good.

Thanks to the dedication and passion of our millions of volunteers, we know more about the incredible advantage of catching breast cancer as early as possible, and how best to teach women and medical professionals to do that. We also are better equipped to educate women about lifestyle changes they can make that reduce the risk of getting breast cancer, and we’ve got better and more treatment options to help give women their best chance at the same full recovery Carole has been fortunate to experience.

When I walk this weekend, I’m not only walking as the chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, I’m walking as someone who has been lucky to benefit from all that Making Strides Against Breast Cancer has made possible. If you participate in your local Making Strides event or support others who do, I want to offer you my sincere thanks and appreciation for all you do to help save lives. If you would like to learn more about how to get involved, please visit

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