North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Making Strides raises money to fight cancer


October 18, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Participants take part in Snohomish County's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 14.

Locals affected by breast cancer came together for Snohomish County's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on Oct. 14.

The annual event provides a non-competitive walk that helps raise funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS) as well as bringing a community of survivors, caregivers and friends of survivors together.

"We put it on to provide hope to breast cancer survivors, because not everyone has someone that they can go through this journey with, and to make sure everyone knows that they don't have to walk alone. There's other people going through the same thing they are," said Hannah Sladek, organizer of this year's Snohomish County event.

This year Making Strides in Snohomish County raised $79,602.

That money goes to breast cancer research and support services for local patients dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis.

A large percentage of that money is raised by local teams, like Mikala Gammell's team that raised about $1,000.

Gammell is an Arlington local that has been participating in ACS events for a while now.

"I've done a lot of Relay for Life and Making Strides over the last 10 years, but my mom is almost seven years out from her survival so we just want to celebrate that," said Gammell.

Gammell's family was hit with two cancer diagnoses close to each other.

"My mom was diagnosed almost seven years ago, and at the same time my grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer," she said. "I was fortunate enough to caregive for them. It's devastating for a family and it's a lot for someone to take on."

She said she participates in Making Strides and Relay for Life to support them and to spread awareness about cancer.

"With how often the statistics are changing and that breast cancer is affecting more and more women every year, it's important we make more people aware," she said. "It doesn't discriminate, it can affect anyone at anytime."

Many local community members came out to support the event, including the Marysville Getchell High School cheerleading team, who helped run some of the water stations at the event and cheer on the walk participants.

"We wanted to show our support for breast cancer survivors and raise awareness for it," said Getchell cheerleader Delaney Smith.

They said they enjoyed the community at the event.

"It was really cool to see everybody supporting everybody," said cheerleader Mackenzie Downes.

"I love how nice they were and how they all came together and encouraged each other to keep going," said cheerleader Aseneth Castaneta.

Gammell also said she enjoys events like Making Strides for the friendship at the event.

"I love the camaraderie and the sense of community. It's incredible to get everyone together and having them all fighting for something like this," she said.

"I think this is a wonderful turnout for the event and I'm proud to be a part of it," she said.

Sladek said it was a good year for the event, with more sun than they had expected.

"I think this was one of our best years we've had. We've never had this much turnout," she said.

This was the first year the event was held at Willis Tucker Park in Snohomish.

"The new venue was great and I think we might come out here again seeing the turnout," said Sladek.

More information about Making Strides is available at


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