TAMPA, Fla. - Paula O'Neil has a big responsibility as The Clerk and Comptroller of Pasco County. She has 350 employees to oversee and when a couple of her co-workers were diagnosed with breast cancer, she rallied a team together to support them in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.
Paula said, "People are excited because there are so many survivors and they can honor those cancer victims as well."
O'Neil has been raising money this way for at least six years, always lending her name and support to a worthy cause that not only affected those working in her office, but her own family. Her mother had breast cancer.
"We were gold striders several years, raising over ten thousand dollars two separate years. "
But for all the time and money she put into these walks, she never guessed one day her co-workers would be walking for her.
"I had had a lump. I had it examined in September of 2011, but there were no conclusive results. So in May of this year, I went to the doctor and had a lump looked at again. They did a mammogram and ultrasound and the radiologist came in, asked me some questions, and told me right then it was probably cancer. I was shocked. "
She's in the middle of her fight right now, having gone through two surgeries and gearing up to start chemotherapy Friday.
"Because I'd worked with Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society, I know a lot of survivors and I know the resources available. "
She's decorated her office with positive affirmations that she will be one of the survivors walking in Making Strides this October.
I, too, used to volunteer during the Making Strides Walk in honor of my mother long before I was diagnosed with breast cancer myself. Cancer, like it or not, touches most of our lives eventually. So, Paula and I are asking you to put together your own team for Making Strides this year in October.
Here are a few kick off events where you can learn more about Making Strides and how you can get involved:
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013
Medical Center of Trinity
9330 State Road 54
New Port Richey, FL 34655
Registration and medical center tours begin at 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013
Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club
6225 Old Pasco Road
Wesley Chapel, FL 33544
Registration begins at 6:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013
Paint Along Studios
123 south Kentucky Ave.
Event begins at 5:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 16, 2013
The Centre Club
123 S. West shore Blvd., 8th floor
Tampa, FL 33609
Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., lunch begins at noon
Thursday Aug. 22, 2013
Embassy suites – Downtown
513 south Florida Ave.
Tampa, FL 33602
Registration and cash bar at 6:00 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013
Hilton Carillon Park
950 Lake Carillon Dr.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
Program begins at 6:00 p.m.