Benefitting Long Beach Memorial’s cancer programs, the 13th Annual Team Spirit 10K Walk kicks off Saturday at 8 a.m. in front of McKenna's on the Bay on the Alamitos Bay Landing in Long Beach.
Attending the Team Spirit 10K Walk this year is the Long Beach Fire Department, which will sound horns to signal the beginning of the march, and this year’s Master of Ceremonies and America’s most decorated Olympic female gymnast, Shannon Miller.
In addition to being a champion with seven gold medals under her belt, Miller is also a champion in the fight against ovarian cancer. After being diagnosed with a malignant germ cell tumor the size of a baseball in January 2011, Miller subsequently underwent surgery to remove it as well as nine weeks of chemotherapy, according to a statement.
Sharing her fight along the way on her blog “My Journey” and in her free ebook, “Competing with Cancer”, Miller is now cancer-free, back on the balance beam and ready to join others whose lives have been forever altered by what can be a devastating diagnosis.
One of about 49,000 new cases of breast and ovarian cancers that are diagnosed each year, according to cancer.org, Miller is committed to sharing her message of fighting with others.
“While competing at the Olympic qualifier I fell on my first event, the balance beam,” she said in her ebook. “The saying was always, ‘You can’t fall and win’. However what I learned was that when you fall, you get back up. No matter what, you keep going. I went on to perform some of my best routines and took first place.”
It is with this spirit Miller will address the crowds at the Team Spirit 10K, which organizers hope will raise as much as $300,000 for the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial.
Funds will go toward breast and ovarian cancer support programs as well as helping to raise awareness about the treatment and emotional well-being of patients, which is particulary important for women, said Randal Snyder, manager of Women Guiding Women: Cancer Support and Education, in a statement.
“Women are often the backbone of the family and are conditioned to place others first,” said Snyder. “The support groups offered at Long Beach Memorial have proven to be effective, especially when a fellow breast cancer survivor stands up to support a newly diagnosed patient. It shows them that they don’t have to walk the difficult path alone.”
Snyder’s group is one of several support groups and psychosocial programs that will benefit from the Team Spirit 10K. In addition to social workers and nurse naviagtors, patients also receive support from other women as part of a peer mentoring program designed to empower new patients.
All programs are available to anyone in the Long Beach community seeking cancer support services regardless of their financial status, according to a statement.
Those wishing to attend can register at 6:30 a.m. on the day of the event outside of McKenna’s On The Bay Restaurant. At 7:45, opening ceremonies begin, followed by the 6.2 mile walk at 8 a.m.