Walk for Diane continues fight against breast cancer

The 5K “Walk for Diane” will serve its ninth year raising funds for women who are unable to afford procedures to detect breast cancer early, when it is most treatable.

The walk, sponsored by The Amy Feiman Behar Foundation for Cancer Prevention, starts at 9 a.m. Oct. 29 at Buccleuch Park in New Brunswick, originating and ending in the park at the intersection of Easton Avenue and Huntington Street across from Saint Peter’s University Hospital. Check in begins at 8 a.m.

The timing of the walk follows the “Bike Ride For Amy” in the spring, and coincides with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, according to information provided by The Amy Foundation. Both events support screening mammograms and diagnostic ultrasounds, as well as biopsies, to confirm a preliminary breast cancer diagnosis, genetic testing and to assist with costs associated with the early detection process for uninsured and underinsured women in central New Jersey.

The Amy Foundation, based in North Brunswick, was created in memory of Amy Feiman Behar, a South Brunswick resident who died of breast cancer in 2007 at 49. The Walk for Diane honors Diane Goodwin, a close friend of Behar’s and fellow South Brunswick resident, who was 53 when she died of breast cancer in 2009.

“With health insurance markets in such a state of flux right now, this year’s Walk for Diane is more important than ever,” John Goodwin, Diane’s husband and a member of The Amy Foundation’s Board of Trustees, said in a prepared statement. “We are concerned that increasing numbers of women may be without the financial means to obtain vital early breast cancer detection measures. So we strongly encourage individuals, families, friends, neighbors and co-workers to walk with us to remember those who lost their lives to breast cancer; those currently fighting this devastating disease, and to think of those whose lives may be saved because of your participation.”

Created in 2007, the foundation’s mission is to provide educational opportunities for underserved women to understand the need for early detection, to increase early detection measures among these women and to work with professionals in the field to determine how early breast cancer detection is best accomplished, according to the statement.

To date, The Amy Foundation has raised more than $600,000 and has helped more than 3,000 unserved women. Early detection procedures help doctors “see” breast cancer before a lump can be felt, when the cure rates are nearly 100 percent, according to the statement.

These vital lifesaving procedures are made possible to women throughout central New Jersey through foundation partnerships and programs that began with Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick and later expanded to include Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and Princeton HealthCare System.

In 2016, The Amy Foundation Board of Trustees approved a partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (RCINJ), a nationally renowned research facility in central New Jersey dedicated to the prevention, treatment and care of patients with cancer.

“During the last half of 2016, our health care partners reported that five women unfortunately were diagnosed with breast cancer,” Goodwin said. “While such a diagnosis is devastating, the end result may be that these five women are potential survivors because the disease was detected early.”

WMGQ Magic 98.3 FM will be on site again this year for the Walk for Diane, providing music, games and prizes.

All walkers are asked for a $15 registration fee, as well as to raise $70 – half the cost of a screening mammogram – by accessing the fundraising site, www.firstgiving.com/amyfoundation/9th-annual-walk-for-diane.

Participants can register as an individual, as part of a team or as a new team. Donations also can be made in support of specific walkers, a team or in general. All donations are tax-deductible.

Online registration will close at midnight on Oct. 27, but registration will be available on site the day of the event.

For more information, visit www.amyfoundation.org.