BOISE, Idaho — Breast cancer affects millions of people across the globe each year and with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure walk shutdown, survivors in the Treasure Valley do not have the same tradition of celebrating their wins as in years past.
A local woman who is a fourth-generation breast cancer survivor is taking matters into her own hands to keep up the traditions. Leslie Scantling is hosting her own “Flock Cancer” walk this year.
“As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, even the granddaughter, I was always very vigilant. In my life I thought, it isn’t a matter of if, it's probably a matter of when,” Scantling said.
In June of 2016, Scantling found out she had breast cancer, just like the three generations of women in her family before her.
“Even expecting it, when you get that actual call, it really kind of jars you. It's something you can't really prepare yourself for”
Scantling’s mom was also diagnosed with breast cancer about 21 years ago and the family has participated in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure ever since.
“I’ll never forget, going to the race, and I held my mom's hand and I cried for the first 2 miles because it just brought everything back,” Scantling said. “Cancer can be very isolating and once you put yourself back together physically, emotionally you know sometimes you still want to give that some space. Going back every year, just really gave us that opportunity to kind of give it some respect and go yeah, we did this. We made it.”
This year, with no Sugan G. Komen race, Scantling is keeping up the tradition herself.
“I just started thinking, what does it really take to throw something like this? “We’ve just decided to throw our own, grassroots event and my theme was always flamingos so “Flock Cancer” just seemed like kind of a natural rebranding for our event and were going to have our own walk for the community,” Scantling said.
The race will take place on Harrison Blvd outside of Leslie’s home on May 8. Those who want to participate can show up dressed in pink and walk the 2-mile course on the sidewalk.
Scantling will also have a bell for participants to ring when they complete the walk.
"The ringing of the bell of very meaningful full and symbolic in the cancer survivor world because it means you’ve finished"
“I'm just hoping that we turn Harrison pink in a show of support for all of those survivors and supporters that want this one opportunity to kind of come out and remember the event like I do,” Scantling said.
All of the proceeds will be donated to the Boise YMCA Oncology Recovery Program.
“After my surgeries, when I felt like I was a little more on my feet, I still wasn't completely put back together. I knew I needed a little bit of physical therapy part of the cancer journey. You can survive cancer, but recovering is also emotional and it's so multifaceted that I knew I still had a ways to go. So I sought out this program through the YMCA and it's a fee-based program that not a lot of women take advantage of because often during a cancer battle, they say it's like having a second job just managing the financial aspect,” Scantling said.
To buy a T-shirt for the walk, click here. The deadline is April 23.
The walk is Saturday, May 8 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at 1806 N Harrison Blvd. For more information click here.