Gold Medal Olympian Shannon Miller Joins Team Spirit Breast Cancer Walk on Saturday

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Shannon Miller at Breast Cancer Walk in Long Beach

Thousands of survivors, family members and friends affected by breast and ovarian cancer are expected to march together at the 13th annual Team Spirit 10K walk on  Sat., Sept. 15 starting at Alamitos Bay Landing. The annual walk will raise funds for the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) at Long Beach Memorial, and this year, event organizers hope to generate more than $300,000 for breast and ovarian cancer support programs.

The Team Spirit 10K has been held every year since 2000, and all money raised at the event goes toward programs that provide support of and promote awareness in the treatment and emotional well-being of breast and ovarian cancer patients in the community.

“Women are often the backbone of the family and are conditioned to place others first,” said Randal Snyder, manager, Women Guiding Women: Cancer Support and Education. “The support groups offered at Long Beach Memorial have proven to be effective, especially when a fellow breast cancer survivor stands up to support a newly diagnosed patient. It shows them that they don’t have to walk the difficult path alone.” 

This year’s event is highlighted by the appearance of former Olympic gymnast, Shannon Miller. The seven-time Olympic medalist and America’s most decorated gymnast will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for the walk. In January 2011, Shannon was diagnosed with a malignant germ cell tumor, a form of ovarian cancer. She had the baseball sized tumor removed and endured nine weeks of chemotherapy for this rare malignancy. Shannon has remained open and public about her diagnosis and treatment through the media, her blog “My Journey,” and a free eBook entitled “Competing with Cancer .” Shannon is currently cancer free and continues to be a strong advocate for early detection.

Team Spirit helps fund important psychosocial programs, such as Women Guiding Women: Cancer Support and Education— a peer-mentoring program, support groups, social workers and the addition of a nurse navigator to TCI. The peer-mentoring program is for newly diagnosed gynecologic and breast cancer patients, matching them with a specially trained cancer survivor. The gynecologic and breast support groups utilize an open format, providing opportunities to share individual stories, learn ways to reduce stress, and enhance coping skills while focusing on adaptive and empowering attitudes. These programs are available to anyone in the greater Long Beach community seeking cancer support services regardless of their financial status.

The walk will be on Sat., Sept. 15, at Alamitos Bay Landing. On-site registration for the walk can be made at 6:30 a.m., in front of McKenna’s On The Bay Restaurant, before the opening ceremonies begin at 7:45 a.m. The Long Beach Fire Department will sound horns to kick off the walk at 8 a.m. The event will finish between 10:30 and 11 a.m. For more, visit www.teamspiritwalk.com.

About Team Spirit:

Team Spirit was founded in 2000 as a small grass roots organization on the belief that more can be done to help fight and raise awareness of breast and ovarian cancer in the community. Team Spirit brings friends and families together to raise money for breast and ovarian cancer support programs and leading treatment options at the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Memorial.

About the MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute:

The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute (TCI) at Long Beach Memorial is dedicated to the early diagnosis, treatment, research and education of patients with cancer or serious blood disorders. Through interdisciplinary treatment planning conferences, TCI specialists develop specialized treatment plans suited to the specific needs of each patient.

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