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October 14. 2012 8:53PM

Hundreds walk against breast cancer in Peterborough


Breast cancer survivor Kelley Loveland of Jaffrey gets ready to walk in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event in Peterborough on Sunday morning with her daughters Madison, 14, and Shayla, 11. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)
PETERBOROUGH — Undaunted by the grey sky and drizzle, more than 400 people donned pink and marched in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Peterborough Sunday morning.

Surrounded by almost 60 friends and family members walking to raise money in her name, Jill Torrice of Ayers, Mass., said the Making Strides event was a humbling experience.

“It seems like we're always doing these walks for other people so it was kind of humbling to have people do this walk for me,” she said. “Didn't really expect to be in these shoes, but it was nice to see how many people cared and turned out.”

The 31-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and is currently undergoing chemotherapy.

A friend first suggested forming a team to walk in the Peterborough event, her hometown, and it just grew from there, she said. By Sunday Team Jill was the number one fundraising team of the Peterborough event.

“The donations were unbelievable. Over $11,000 being donated,” she said.

Joining Team Jill was her mother, Lynne Rumba of Peterborough and her mother's friend, Sandi Stewart of Jaffrey.

Four years ago, Torrice and her mother walked the three-day Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer walk in Boston in honor of Stewart who was battling the disease at the time.

Walking in the Making Strides event for the first time this year was mother of four Kelley Loveland of Jaffrey.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and was recently diagnosed with a different form of breast cancer in the same breast, which means more surgeries and more chemotherapy, she said.

Her daughters Mercedes, 20, Madison, 14, and Shayla, 11, have been very supportive and helped raise about $500 for the event at school and online.

“Being away from these kids while I was in the hospital was the hardest thing for me,” she said.

Her grandmother had 11 sisters, and all but one had breast cancer, she said. The disease skipped her mother's generation and Loveland is hoping it will skip her daughters, but she worries about her future granddaughters.

“I can't believe how many young people are being diagnosed with breast cancer these days,” she said. “I'm walking for myself, my daughters, granddaughters, my grandmother and all my friends that have had breast cancer.”

The Making Strides event in Peterborough is one of eight taking place across the state this month, said Peter Ames, vice president of health initiatives for the American Cancer Society in New Hampshire.

The Peterborough event is expected to raise $50,000. All the New Hampshire Making Strides events are expected to raise $2 million this month.

The money goes toward research to better prevent and treat cancer as well as helping cancer victims through local programs such as wig banks and volunteer rides.

“Our mission is to number one end this disease. And we're working every day toward that end. But until that day we're working to ensure people have programs in their community,” Ames said. “Transportation is our most requested service in this state. It takes a lot to get to radiation, chemotherapy. … We got out 6,000 rides for cancer patients this year.”

October is breast cancer awareness month. That means talking to people about prevention and detection and supporting those battling the disease, Ames said.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 226,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer this year, and nearly 40,000 will die from the disease.

mpierce@newstote.com

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