By Greg Ellison, Staff Writer
(Oct. 26, 2017) Midway Toyota’s 8th annual “Knock Out Breast Cancer” walk, to support shore-based nonprofit Women Supporting Women, will unite survivors and others who want to combat the disease, in Pocomoke on Saturday.
Josh Nordstrom, Midway business development manager, said the auto dealership at 1337 Ocean Highway would be repurposed for the walk, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. with registration at 10 a.m.
“We make an oval course using cars and trucks on the lot,” he said. “People can walk as much or as little as they want.”
Since launching a partnership with event co-host Women Supporting Women, Nordstrom said nearly $75,000 has been raised during previous walks to back the efforts of the area nonprofit.
“It’s fortunate so many people are willing to contribute,” he said. “We’re not doing this halfway – it’s 100 percent.”
With more than 100 participants raising approximately $15,000 in 2016, Nordstrom is shooting for $17,000 this year.
Nordstrom brought the annual fundraiser to life when Midway was contemplating an altruistic endeavor.
“This has been my baby from the beginning, but I’ve had a lot of help,” he said. “We were looking to do something with a charity and polled employees where to direct our energy.”
Shortly thereafter, Nordstrom learned about Women Supporting Women during a function sponsored by the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce.
“I wasn’t familiar with the group, but I was struck by how dedicated and passionate they were,” he said. “Every penny comes from the local community and stays in the community.”
Harriette Fine, Carol Prager and Sue Revelle, who initially worked out of their homes to provide free services for breast cancer survivors, founded women Supporting Women in 1993.
Since then, the nonprofit has expanded to serve the entire Delmarva Peninsula with offices in Salisbury and Ocean City, along with additional support groups in Pocomoke, Cambridge and Crisfield.
In addition to sponsoring support groups for cancer survivors, the nonprofit also provides mentoring services, along with material goods, such as wigs, bras and lift chairs.
During visits to the groups’ offices, Nordstrom said he often “gets goose bumps,” from witnessing the impact the no-cost services have on clients battling breast cancer.
“I’ve seen women come in undergoing treatment … looking dejected and sad,” he said, “They take them back to the wig room and they come out looking like a million bucks.”
Cindy Feist, Women Supporting Women executive director, said helping clients improve their appearance, arguably only a surface solution, has a noticeable impact on their psyche.
“Their whole facial expression just changes,” she said.
While he acknowledged the importance of funding nationally based organizations that researching cures for breast cancer, Nordstrom said providing daily support and comfort to individuals should not be overlooked.
“Sometimes its not about medication [or] treatment, it’s about the will to keep fighting,” he said. “I derive a lot of my energy and passion from the woman I talk to who have survived breast cancer.”
Nordstrom also gains inspiration from local businesses and organizations, such as Pocomoke Middle School and Arcadia High School in Accomack, who organize teams to collect pledges and donations based on distances walked.
“Wal-Mart in Pocomoke puts together an amazing team every year,” he said.
Nordstrom said the event also has several major corporate sponsors, including Atlantic General Hospital, Delmarva Veteran Builders, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Sharp Energy and Tyson Foods.
In addition to walking or running the quarter-mile oval shaped course, Nordstrom said participants could stop for food, bid on an array of silent auction items or receive information on an array of heath topics.
“Domino’s Pizza will be on site and donates all proceeds,” he said. “PRMC will be giving flu shots from its health van.”
Although the walk is free, Nordstrom said all participants are encouraged to fundraise based on every hour, lap or mile completed.
“We want people to come and bring their families … and pets,” he said. “Let’s make a big spectacle of it.”
Donations can be made directly by visiting the Women Supporting Women Facebook page, under the events tab.
For more information, call 443-614-6021.
In the event of rain, the walk will be rescheduled for the following Saturday.