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08-01-12-ribbon-walk-and-ride_logo.gifWhether you are a survivor or you know someone who is fi ghting, cancer is a disease that touches us all.

Sherry Jackson, an RN on the Cape Fear Valley Pediatrics Unit, knows all too well the strength needed to battle cancer. In 2004, she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. What followed were three rounds of chemotherapy that took a rough toll on her body. But Jackson knows Cape Fear Valley’s cancer patients need never fight alone. They have the support of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation’s Friends of the Cancer Center.

“Every penny the Foundation raises goes straight to the Cancer Center to help patients that need it so badly,” she says.

The Cape Fear Valley Cancer Center and CyberKnife Treatment Center does not receive any fi nancial assistance from any national cancer support foundations. Instead, the center relies solely on donations and gifts provided to the Health Foundation’s Friends of the Cancer Center.

Friends of the Cancer Center provide hundreds of cancer patients and their families not only with emotional support and information resources, but also prescription medicine, food supplements, wigs and turbans, emergency funding for utilities and travel assistance for treatment — all at no expense for the patient.

Now in remission, Jackson serves as co-chair for the organization’s largest fundraising event, the Annual Ribbon Walk & Ride. The first Ribbon Walk took place in 2005, with 140 walkers — including Jackson —joining together to raise just over $3,000. The event has grown over the years. The 2011 walk added a riding portion for motorcycle enthusiasts. Altogether 750 participants banded together and raised more than $88,000 for local cancer patients!

On Saturday, Sept. 15, hundreds of walkers and motorcycle riders will gather together in support of Cape Fear Valley’s cancer patients and the Friends of the Cancer Center for the 7th Annual Ribbon Walk & Ride presented by HealthKeeperz.

“I am so extremely emotional and excited for this event,” says Jackson. “My goal is for the Ribbon Walk to be larger than Fayetteville’s Dogwood Festival.”

Tara Brisson Hinton, Friends of the Cancer Center Coordinator at Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation is also hoping this year’s walk will be even bigger.

“We are so excited for this year’s event as it keeps growing,” Hinton says. “We’re holding our fi rst Survivor’s Reception on Friday, Sept. 14, at SkyView on Hay to kick things off.”

The reception will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., and will offer food, music, a photo booth, silent auction and door prizes.

The Survivor’s Reception is not this year’s only change. This will be the fi rst year that walkers will not be taking on the steep hill on Hay Street into Historic Haymont. Instead, walkers will start at the Medical Arts Center and walk down Hay Street and through Linear Park (the motorcycle route will go out to River Road and back). There will be small hills and a few steps, but the climb up Hay Street will not be necessary.

The flatter walk is a benefit because for the 2012 Ribbon Walk we are calling all cancer survivors.

“I’ve walked the new route,” says Jackson. “Most of our cancer survivors can walk it because there are only three or four steps and someone will be posted there to help survivors up and down those steps.”

Walkers and riders register for $25 and receive a t-shirt, but survivors can participate for only $15 and they will receive a special “I am a Survivor” t-shirt.

Survivors who register by Wednesday, Aug. 15, will receive an invitation by mail with a ticket for them and a guest to attend the special Survivors Reception.

There will be prizes for the Ribbon Walk & Ride individual and team who raise the most money and friendly competition is strongly encouraged.

The team that raises the most money will get ownership of The Crystal Ribbon trophy with the team name engraved on it.

If you would like to join the Ribbon Walk & Ride this Sept. 15, Sherry Jackson and the Friends of the Cancer Center would love to have you. For more information, please call 615-1434 or visit www.ribbonwalkforcancer.org.

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