After being diagnosed with breast cancer
Sandi McCool decided to fight-back with an event that would inspire hope and courage.
She called it "Champions of Hope."
The goal? Fight cancer
"It's about inspiring those who are going through the cancer journey. It's about supporting and continuing to let those survivors know how much this community cares about what they've had to go through."
McCool started the fundraiser back in 2008.
She passed away last year.
However, the event still remains strong, with its fifth annual celebration on Saturday.
Breast cancer survivors like Kelli Cundith are still working to carry on McCool's legacy.
"I met Sandi McCool several years ago when she was battling breast cancer and this was her mission and her dream to start a local breast cancer fund raiser and just the comrodery, the friendships and the bonds and the whole spirit of the event has just changed me."
Champions of Hope raises money to expand cancer services and programs offered by the Southeast Alabama Medical Center.
The event features a 5-k run and walk,
It allows friends, family members and cancer survivors to show their support.
"I was actually here for the first event not knowing what it was about but a coworker had asked me to walk, so I walked for her. The second year I had been diagnosed so I walked for myself. And then the third year I was actually the chairperson for the event."
And while Champions of Hope is doing great things in the fight against breast cancer, most survivors say early detection is key.
"We wanna encourage women to do their breast health exam."
"I did a self breast exam, found the lump, went to the doctor and found out it was stage two breast cancer."
"Early detection is the most important because the sooner you do find out the sooner you can go into treatment."
They say there's strength in numbers.
And those involved with Champions of Hope believe it.
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