Survivors take lap for support, awareness

Abbi Overfelt Editor

October 25, 2013

LAURINBURG — Some motorists on Lauchwood Drive were perplexed Friday by the sea of pink that confronted them as they made their way to doctor’s appointments or shopping centers.

Others honked and waved as the about 75 women, wearing hats, scarves, coats or track suits emblazoned with the color that has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness, took a brisk trek around part of the campus of Scotland Memorial Hospital.

It was the ninth year the breast cancer support group of the Scotland Cancer Treatment Center had gathered to celebrate each other’s success. The group has grown each year — just as the number of patients has grown. Each year, the center sees as many as 360 new patients.

“No one’s sad here,” said Dotti Matthews, the center’s director. “They all get to see each other, some of them who were in treatment the same time they were. It’s good for us too, to interact with patients, for them to see us outside of treatment.”

Perhaps having the most fun was Dr. Chip Helms, radiation oncologist, who led the group in a golf cart decorated with pink balloons, streamers and pool noodles formed into awareness ribbons.

Among the voices that cheered “We are survivors, couldn’t be prouder, if you can’t hear us, we’ll yell a little louder,” Annie Cureton’s rang the most clear. Cureton and her friend Barbara Ellison, though neither were cancer survivors, were representing Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, a group that has named breast cancer as one of it’s main causes.

Margaret Humbert, walking near the middle of the pack, is a two-time cancer survivor.

“I’m with the support group, and this is just another way we can support each other,” she said.

Mary Callham-Lopez, an oncology social worker, said the event started with a handful of survivors, who made laps inside the hospital when a downpour derailed their plans.

“Now it’s grown to this, into something excellent,” she said.

The walk was sponsored by the Scotland Memorial Foundation.