Ladies of Port Richmond host 13th annual Breast Cancer walk
By Lindsey Nolen
The Ladies of Port Richmond — many with personal ties to breast cancer — have hosted an annual breast cancer walk since 2004.
In its 13th year, the organization once again rallied the community on Sunday, May 21, to raise awareness about and funds to fight the disease.
In what was truly a display of community support, Monkiewicz Playground, 3201 Richmond St., was flooded with a sea of pink during the event.
From infants to seniors, all ages were represented at the charity walk, with all the proceeds going directly to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Nazareth Hospital and Holy Redeemer Hospital for breast cancer research.
“It’s an important event because [the funds] go toward breast cancer research,” said Mary Lou Leuters, a two-time cancer survivor and Ladies of Port Richmond president. “I am very lucky to have been able to survive breast cancer. It means a lot that people come out to show support, but we always need more walkers, especially from our neighbors, Fishtown and Bridesburg, who we always try to include.”
State Rep. John Taylor and Councilman Bobby Henon were present on the morning of the walk to express their gratitude to the organization for hosting the event, and for the community for coming out to support the fight that has impacted many local residents.
“The Ladies of Port Richmond are certainly deserving praise, and in no small part, they have contributed to the national concept that this is a movement and an initiative. You all played a role in that and thank you for contributing,” Taylor said.
Similarly, Henon acknowledged the work of the LOPR and said many times before he’s seen good things, such as this walk, start and soon after fade. He praised the fact that in its 13th year, the LOPR breast cancer walk is still bringing the neighborhood together.
“Breast cancer affects just about everybody’s family,” said Henon, who is a 7-year prostate cancer survivor. “Understand that it is something that will eventually be cured, and it will be cured because of your love, devotion and commitment to trying to find the cause.”
Showing an example of how close to home cancer is in the community was 4-year-old Yarden Sulzbach, who was diagnosed with Langerhan Cell Histiocytosis, and also present at the breast cancer walk to show his support.
In return for his support, the LOPR had a surprise for the cancer survivor: The Phillie Phanatic came to the event to meet Yarden and give him Phillies memorabilia gifts.
Through parents bringing their children and introducing them to this system of support, they are helping to establish the next generation of philanthropists who may just be the ones who cure breast cancer.
“As the principal of the Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional Catholic School, it’s so important to see the kids come together for such a worthy cause,” said Sister Mary Ripp, S.C.C., who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. “It means so much to me because this is us teaching our kids to think about others.”