Join The Journey - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Fanna Haile-Selassie

Join The Journey

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Rochester, MN (KTTC-DT) --

It's a cause taken up by more and more people every year as the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer increases. KTTC follows the steps of those joining the journey.

The simple pleasure of walking is something many take for granted. But these steps are different. They each tell a story.

"She's a survivor of how many years," asks classmate Diane Jensen.

" 9 years," responds Bonnie Hayes, a breast cancer survivor.

"My life was spared, I caught it very early and it's been 5 years for me," explains survivor and walk coordinator Margot Potts.

These are the women, men, friends, and relatives who are on a journey of support for a loved one who has to tackle breast cancer. Roughly 1,100 people participated in the 6th annual fundraising event, walking up to 10 miles from the Mayo high school to Silver Lake Park and back.

"It is inspiring," exclaims Potts. "The stories that we hear everyday and knowing that Join the Journey has supported these women going through this. That's what it's about, everybody out here, the camaraderie, just the support they get."

"There's 8 of us walking. Two of them are breast cancer survivors," explains Jensen. "We're all high school classmates. Graduated from Annandale, Minnesota and we came from all over the state to do this."

The number of people who attend the Join the Journey event every year continues to grow. Some say it's a telling sign of the spread of the disease.

"It's a matter of who's next. Yeah, I never said why me. I always thought, when is it going to happen," says Hayes.

"1 in 8 women. It's a very scary statistic, but it's real," Potts explains.

A reality that these people know well and hope their footsteps will help support others as they begin their journey.

With record-breaking attendance, came a record-breaking fundraising amount. The organization raised nearly $130,000. All of the money will stay in the area to provide programs and counsel for women with breast cancer.

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