The third annual “Together We Can Find a Cure” march was held in Brusly Saturday morning as hundreds of people took to the streets in support of cancer awareness.
As the sun slowly rose to warm the crowd, the sight was a beautiful one - a sea of pink and purple walking the Brusly streets, united by the bonds of love for each other in their quest to find a cure for cancer.
Tan Johnson, creator and coordinator of the event, said that she was overwhelmed by the amount of community support she received for the mile-long walk beginning and ending at Alexander Park in Brusly. She said that she has received much support when the even began three years ago, but the immense growth the cancer awareness walk has seen is tremendous.
“Every year has been a great response from the community and the supporters of the walk,” Johnson said. “This year has been a very special year for me, because the walk has gotten bigger and greater and the participants have been amazing – it’s just overwhelming.”
Johnson said that the event’s participants, and the funds raised, has more than doubled since the beginning.
“In the first year we did about $2,000-$3,000, and this year we’re at the $6,000 mark already and we’re not finished,” she said. “It’s bigger than the past years.”
Johnson began the Together We Can Find a Cure cancer awareness walk in 2009, a week after her sister-in-law died of colon cancer.
“I think it’s really important to the community because they see people… we all come together; it doesn’t matter what church, or anything that we’re involved in,” said D’Anne Armstrong of Addis, a cancer survivor who has been involved in the event since its foundation in 2009. “It’s all about coming together as a community and it’s all for one cause. It’s all to support one another in the battle.”
Armstrong said that she became involved in the event because she thought it was important to show support for those living with the disease and their families.
She said that she had a much greater understanding of the importance of having others’ support when she, herself, was diagnosed with cancer.
“It became real for me when I was in the battle. So just to see the community come together for such a great cause and to try to raise money for others that are in the battle, to walk alongside them through this, is wonderful.”
John Williams, athletic director at Port Allen High School, agreed, saying that seeing the many people take time out of their schedules to walk a mile in support of cancer awareness is really special.
“It shows that you’re never alone. There’s always someone that’s helping, that’s thinking about the things that you’re going through,” said Williams, who is also a cancer survivor.
“Events like these, you always know that you can find someone to talk to, someone who will support you and have gone through things… Some people who don’t have cancer come out – they don’t have to, but they come out on your behalf. That’s really gratifying.”
Williams said that he, and many other cancer survivors, were able to make it through their most difficult times because they knew they had faith, and the support of family and community.
Johnson said that her life, and many others’ lives, have been affected by cancer in some way and she felt the God called her to begin hosting an annual event to raise awareness and support for cancer.
“To the community it means everything. Every dollar means everything to help to find a cure for cancer. Every dollar, every nickel raised, every footstep, every participant, every supporter, every prayer, it means everything,” she said. “I believe, through the power of God, that we’re going to overcome this.”
All money raised in the Together We Can Find a Cure cancer awareness walk is being donated to Relay for Life.