Bridgeport's Stroll for Strength raises awareness for early breast cancer detection

The City of Bridgeport stood united against breast cancer Sunday during the annual Stroll For Strength down Seaside Park.

Tom Krosnowski

Oct 22, 2023, 4:52 PM

Updated 220 days ago


The City of Bridgeport stood united against breast cancer Sunday during the annual Stroll For Strength down Seaside Park.
After weather threatened a rainout for a second consecutive year, a crisp fall ocean breeze did little to hold back the pink parade.
“We say all the time - our patients weather the storm every day through a diagnosis, so it's worth it to bundle up and be out here,” Meghan McCloat of the Norma Pfriem Breast Center said. “The turnout has far exceeded our expectations. The energy is high and we're just so incredibly grateful.”
“I think we should start our new slogan, just say ‘Bridgeport Proud,’” Bridgeport Police Chief Roderick Porter said. “When you see what we're doing here today and the other things that we're doing, we should all be Bridgeport Proud.”
The Stroll For Strength is more than a breast cancer walk – it’s a citywide parade led by the police and fire department that fundraises for breast cancer research.
Proceeds directly benefit patients at the Norma Pfriem Breast Center, regardless of their ability to pay.
“Underinsured and uninsured women have access to quality health care,” McCloat said.
Patients like Christine Del Valle, who observed a lump and got a screening:
“This past Thanksgiving holiday, I will never forget,” Del Valle said. “I received a gift that I was not expecting - a six-letter word, ‘cancer.’ From scans, chemo, surgery, radiation and still medically treating, I tell my story to educate and to show it's OK to be your own advocate. If my story can help one person, then my purpose has been served.”
Few knew the impact of the Pfriem Center like Janeen Fountain, who worked with the team there before dying from breast cancer. The aid they provided her family - and thousands more - is why so many walk.
“I didn't want to ask for support, but we actually needed the support,” Janeen’s husband, Venoal, said. “The Norma Pfriem Breast Center stepped in in such a way - not only financially, but physically, emotionally. And so, we're paying it forward.”
Although the breast cancer death rate is down, the incidence rate is up - but there’s one way to get ahead.
“We're seeing a lot of delayed diagnoses due to people that were afraid to come out during COVID and have their screening,” McCloat said. “We'll keep representing the fact that the safest place to be is in a doctor's office, so please do not delay your mammogram.”

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