By Jesse Steele
Saturday, Oct. 19 marks the date of the 13th annual Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer Alliance 5k walk and 10k fun run. The event is the major fundraiser for the Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer Alliance (ESBCA). The Alliance was formed as a resource for cancer patients in Inyo and Mono counties to find information and financial help during their time of need.
Patricia Ramirez of Bishop, founded the organization after a 3 day Avon event she attended that was held to help and inform people dealing with cancer. Realizing the need for such assistance in our area, Ramirez formed the ESBCA. Currently located in a building donated to the alliance by Northern Inyo Hospital, the Alliance’s soul purpose is to be the in between help for those inflicted with cancer.
Andrea Shallcross, ESBCA Treasurer, has been volunteering her time and efforts to the organization since 2010. She felt it was a cause worth volunteering for. “Sometimes people forget that fighting cancer also means you may not be able to work. Without an income or any resources, it is unlikely a patient would be able to pay for the gas, food and lodging it requires to travel to a hospital that can perform the chemotherapy needed to help save their life.” The ESBCA’s support resource center at 2957 Birch Street in Bishop is operated by volunteer staff for all cancer patients in both Inyo and Mono counties. They provide assistance in signing up with the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) as well as provide scarves and donated wigs for those in the throws of chemotherapy. Aside from information, the other key factors of support from the ESBCA are emotional and financial support. Volunteers provide an open ear for those in need of one.
“Often times the most a person needs is someone to listen to them, to hear about their struggles and to care,” Shallcross said. “Just having someone to share your journey with can make all the difference.” The ESBCA is also there to provide support, financially, for those in need. Medical bills aside, just the money it takes to drive to a city with access to the chemotherapy needed for some cases can be astronomical.
The 5k/10k fundraiser is the main fundraiser for the year. All of the money raised will go to help the patients registered with the ESBCA. In 2012 they provided over $24,000 in assistance to those in need. A lot of community support is present for the event. Northern Inyo Hospital has been backing the alliance for years and is the main sponsor for this event. Also local businesses that are supporting the event and providing everything from assistance to food are Schat’s Bakery, McDonalds, Vons and Starbucks, among others. The event will also have health related information booths to discuss topics such as mammograms and early warning check ups.
The event starts at 9 a.m. with a registration time of 8 a.m. at the Bishop City Park, by the gazebo. The course will stretch behind the Kmart shopping complex and along the backroads adjacent to the Bishop canal for the designated distance the participant chooses. The 5k will be a course to walk and enjoy supporting a great cause. The 10k will be a fun run. The only winners will be the people who are helped in their time of need by the proceeds generated by each participants entrance fee of $35. Registration can be filled out online beforehand at www.esbcs.org, or at the race. Fee can be paid at the event. Each participant will receive an Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer Alliance T-Shirt with their registration. Also a raffle will be held after the event to help raise the funds necessary to provide assistance all year. A few of the raffle items include, lift tickets and cross country day passes to Mammoth Mountain Ski area. This event demonstrates that anyone’s life can be affected by cancer but more importantly, anyone can help those in the greatest need by simply going for a walk.
For more information contact the Eastern Sierra Breast Cancer alliance at www.esbca.org or call at 760.872.3811.