WESLACO – With wheelchairs decked out in pink and more than 200 participants, the residents and staff of Valley Grande Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center (VGM) led a processional along the streets of Weslaco on October 22, 2015. The highly anticipated event took center stage with a parade in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. Amongst the participants were VGM residents and staff, high school students, local government officials, volunteers, and local business leaders.
The second annual walk-a-thon sponsored by Valley Grande Manor started at the nursing home’s parking lot at 1212 S. Bridge Avenue and meandered through the neighborhood.
“This started last year as a grass roots effort to raise money and recognize the importance of research to battle breast cancer,” said Joe Longoria, Director of Rehabilitation at VGM and co-organizer. “I’m so proud of our residents and staff who enthusiastically participated and encouraged local participation from other organizations. This is a growing event and we look forward to having a bigger and better one next year.”
Highlighting the event was the drum line of the Weslaco East High School (WEHS) marching band. The WEHS freshman and varsity cheerleading squads also participated with loud cheers and enthusiastic support.
“We are so grateful for the opportunity afforded our students to return to the community through this act of service,” said Roxanne Rodriguez, WEHS cheerleader coach. “The students were extremely excited when they got the news that they would be marching with our senior citizens for such a great cause.”
The band set the tone for an exciting event, according to Nora Ramirez, Registered Activities Director at VGM and co-organizer. “Having the youth alongside our residents made for an awesome experience and resulted in a very touching event for an important cause,” she said. The event felt more like a “Pep rally with sounds of drums and cheers from the young” added Rodriguez.
The walk-at-thon circled back to VGM where AmeriStarr Ambulance, LLC, hosted a barbecue lunch for participants, VGM residents and staff, and families. AmeriStarr also drove a pink and white ambulance in the procession.
City of Weslaco Mayor David Suarez participated in the event. Texas House of Representative/District 39 Armando “Mando” Martinez was also in attendance and launched the walk-a-thon with words of encouragement to all participants.
The event also featured a “themed bra contest”. Nine departments at VGM entered the competition.
“Our goal is first and foremost to generate awareness of this disease and to muster support to find a cure,” said Bill Lowe, Administrator of VGM. He added “We’re so appreciative to be part of a community that gives time, resources, and efforts to battle this disease. Everyone must do their part in fighting this disease, and we’re so pleased that our city, local healthcare providers, the youth, and our residents and staff are taking an active role.”
SOME FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER
- About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
- The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early.
- If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them.
- If you are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every 2 years. You may also choose to get them more often.
- Talk to a doctor about your risk for breast cancer, especially if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer. Your doctor can help you decide when and how often to get mammograms.