Making Strides With The American Cancer Society

MOB Traffic raises barricades to reduce screening roadblocks.  

As the sun rises over Las Vegas on October 30, thousands of people will postpone wearing black and orange for Halloween and pick out pink instead — pink hats, pink shirts, pink socks, and anything else they might own. It’s all part of a national campaign — and local effort — to raise awareness for breast cancer. 

“More than 290,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer nationwide this year, and 2,600 of those will be newly diagnosed in Nevada,” said Angela VanBrackle, executive director for the American Cancer Society, Nevada. “It’s the highest diagnosed cancer in our state, which is why events like Making Strides Against Breast Cancer are so important.”

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (Making Strides) is a 5k walk that puts feet on the ground to raise funds to support breast cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. The money raised is then benchmarked for research, resources, services, and programs specific to breast cancer, some of which are especially pragmatic for patients. 

“If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer and need someone to talk to at three in the morning, the American Cancer Society has someone waiting to take your call,” says VanBrackle. “If you are on the road to recovery and don’t have transportation, we have resources to ensure you make your appointment.”

VanBrackle likes to say it's all about the American Cancer Society’s mission — to provide education, access, and financial assistance to aid in the early detection, treatment, and survival of breast cancer — but it's also about personal one-on-one connections. By coming together as a community at events like Making Strides, the stories shared by people become uniquely personal. 

“I’ve been touched several times by the personal experiences that touch all of us,” VanBrackle said. “A few years ago, a woman walked for a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Making Strides was so impactful that she decided to get screened and, thankfully, was diagnosed early enough to be treated.”

According to VanBrackle, there are hundreds of stories just like this one. Friends who have shared journeys. Family members who make tributes. Even a mother who is walking for the daughter who walked for her just a few years earlier.

“I’ve had friends and family members affected by cancer too. It’s one of the reasons I joined the American Cancer Society five years ago, shortly after managing a golf event for the organization,” she said. “We’ve made some amazing strides in this short time. For example, one participant shared with me how her grandmother was able to keep her larynx because of recent surgical advancements. Her story was especially impactful because I can’t remember what my grandfather’s voice sounded like. He had lost his voice box to cancer more than thirty years ago.”

This year, Making Strides participants will start on Charleston Boulevard at the Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, head west to Desert Foothills Avenue, and back. Masters of Barricades (MOB Traffic) will cordon off eastbound traffic on Charleston, directing it toward a designated westbound lane. MOB Traffic will also close both exit ramps at Charleston and I-15 until the event ends around 11 a.m. 

“With an event this size, and the need to communicate with so many different agencies and organizations we work with — the city, county, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), and Nevada Highway Patrol — it’s great to have Masters of Barricades around,” said VanBrackle. “They have relationships with everyone involved, manage route revisions quickly, and, most importantly, go out of their way to keep our walkers safe.”

More than 150 signs and 500 delineators (approximately 1,000 pieces of equipment, excluding sandbags) will maximize pedestrian and participant safety while easing the flow of traffic around the event. Working with LVMPD, MOB Traffic will also provide six barricade trucks and trailers to act as roadblocks and about 450 feet of water rail.

“This is a wonderful fundraiser. We have to do what we can to protect them at the event and protect them by increasing prevention through medical education and screenings,” said Paul Ames, special events manager for MOB Traffic. “We look forward to working with the American Cancer Society every year.”

Making Strides was founded nationally in 1994, with the Las Vegas event kicking off its event just five years later. The inaugural event numbered in the hundreds before reaching approximately 20,000 participants in 2019 and raising as much as $900,000 for breast cancer services and programs, numbers that the American Cancer Society aspires to reach again after the pandemic. 

“We’re on track to have 20,000 participants again and hope to raise around $350,000,” said VanBrackle. “Along with the walk, participants can enjoy DJ Sight & Sound, starting at 7 a.m. There will also be dozens of sponsor tents, and kids will enjoy a guest appearance by Pearl, the pink fire engine.”

While anyone may attend the event, the American Cancer Society encourages participants to register before the walk begins at 8:30 a.m. The event page includes location details and information on making donations and tributes. You can also follow Making Strides on Facebook and Twitter

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