More than 15,000 people crowded downtown Augusta for the 17th Miracle Mile Walk for breast cancer awareness and fundraiser hosted by University Health Care Foundation.
The foundation is “very close” to meeting its $300,000 goal as of Tuesday as money from the event continues to come in and is counted, said President Laurie Ott, who also serves as vice president for human resources and community services at University Hospital.
Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, which helps with crowd management for the event, estimated at least 15,000 turned out Saturday “based on the size of the crowd, how long it took for everybody to file by and how long the walk was,” she said. The walk is always led by the breast cancer survivors to keep the focus on them and their families, Ott said. But it is also a significant source of funding for free mammograms for women who otherwise could not afford one.
The count was $279,000 toward the goal of $300,000 without adding in checks and credit cards yet so it was “very close to hitting our goal,” Ott said. Last year, the walk helped pay for 421 screening and diagnostic mammograms at University for women who could not afford one and this year it has already covered 603 before the crucial month of October numbers are added in, she said. It also ensures no woman goes without one, Ott said.
“If a woman presents and needs a mammogram, if it is necessary for her to have a mammogram, we never turn her away,” she said. “That’s all made possible by the Miracle Mile Walk proceeds.” All of the money goes toward that purpose and the walk continues to top itself year after year, she said.
“We think this walk grows every year,” Ott said. “It’s pretty incredible. Every year more and more people show up. We are just so thankful that people do come out and support University Hospital, that they come out and support these screenings for women in the community. They’re really starting to make the connection between early detection and saving lives.”
Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or email@example.com.