Annual cancer walk helps to fund medical supplies

Elka Wyatt

Links for Life kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness month with their third annual Lace’n It Up walk to celebrate survivors, remember lost loved ones and encourage those who were recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Proceeds from this event will fund mammograms, ultrasounds and needle biopsies, if needed, to women in Kern County under the age of 40 who are uninsured or underinsured.
The walk started in front of the Kern County Superior Courthouse, at the corner of Truxtun and Chester avenues. Tables were set up for survivors and supporters to register for the walk, which included lunch at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools building on 17th street.
Information on self-breast exams was offered, and there were several volunteers on hand to answer questions anyone had about breast cancer or to take donations. Breast cancer survivors received a commemorative pink ribbon pin.
According to Joann Nunn, a breast cancer survivor, and co-chair person of the event, 150 people attended the first walk, while last year 427 attended. This year, 600 were expected. The other co-chair was Stephanie Lynch, also a survivor.
“The best thing about this is that all of the money earned in Kern County stays in Kern County,” said Nunn.
At 11 a.m., the crowd turned their attention toward the Liberty Bell where Casey McBride, KUZZ’s on-air personality, and breast cancer survivor, opened the ceremony. The Rev. Donald Allen led a prayer. Mayor Harvey Hall welcomed survivors and their families and spoke of statistics.
“One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Hall. Hall added, “Breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women between the ages of 35 and 54.”
Stacy Crooks, a member of the Board of Directors of Links for Life introduced Executive Director Jennifer Henry who spoke of some of the services offered by Links for Life. Fifth District Supervisor Michael Rubio declared October “Paint the Town Pink” month.
Steve Hamblet, who works for the Bakersfield City Fire Department, stood next to his wife Brigitt as he spoke of her breast cancer and how it affected their whole family.
After the opening speakers, breast cancer survivors were invited to ring the Liberty Bell. Several pink and white balloons were then released, and the walk began. Some walked a one-mile path while others walked a half-mile. A few survivors rode in convertible cars provided by local car dealerships.
There were pink ribbons tied to trees and pink signs all along the route. The supporters walked through downtown Bakersfield.
Links for Life offers a variety of services to breast cancer survivors, and women who are in need of a diagnosis, but due to age, insurance restrictions or lack of insurance, are unable to have the procedures done that are necessary for the diagnosis.
In 2007 and 2008, the organization has taken over 3900 calls with breast-cancer related questions, assisted 154 walk-ins with services, provided 228 wigs for those experiencing hair loss as a result of chemotherapy, funded 461 mammograms and 533 ultrasounds, sponsored 30 needle biopsies, hosted 149 women in the support group and accommodated 93 survivors and family members for a yoga class.
They also provide information on detection and promote awareness in the community.
For more information on Links for Life, go to or call 661-322-5601 or toll free 1-888-244-LINK (5465)