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Especially For You Walkers Remember Loved Ones

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- "It was shock, said Janet Van Hoeck as she remembered when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003. I thought for sure it was just a routine check."

Thats what Janet thinks of when she sees sneakers hit the pavement and a sea of red shirts 15,000 strong.

"When you come together with this many survivors and these many support people, it's just a feeling you can't describe, said Van Hoeck.

"You see all these people who are survivors, friends and family and they're just so supportivem," said Barb Mineart, who was diagnosed in 2009.

Anita Barrett watches the crowd and remembers her sister, whom she lost to breast cancer in 2007.

"The tough part was seeing her go through it, the family. She was a fighter, said Barrett.

Fundraisers like Especially for You, not only raise awareness but they also help further cancer research. While experts say they don't know everything about the disease, they say their work has come a long way.

"We have unlocked so many of the mysteries and in fact, individuals who have experienced breast cancer in their family now can have genetic testing, said the President and CEO of Mercy Medical Center, Tim Charles.

That testing can help patients find out even earlier if theyre likely to develop the cancer later in life. The money raised today will help those who need to be checked and cared for, but might not be able to pay the bill. Just last year, nearly 800 people received services they otherwise might not have if not for that helping hand.

"We actually provide this support to individuals who require the screening, irrespective of where they're receiving that, said Charles.
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