HARLINGEN — For 15 years, the all-volunteer organization Walk for Women has been helping cancer patients and families focus on the fight against breast cancer.

Through the group’s annual fundraising efforts, local breast cancer patients in need of financial support have received collectively more than $260,000 to pay bills or cover other expenses, such as traveling to Houston for treatments. Overall, the organization has helped raise more than $300,000 since its founding. Past support has included MD Anderson and other organizations, for example.

Today, it’s all about helping Rio Grande Valley families financially so they can focus on beating breast cancer.

“We provide them money because we don’t want women and families to have to choose between the electric bill or a chemotherapy treatment or between buying groceries or going to Houston (for treatment),” Walk for Women President Cheryl Hill said. “Those are hard financial decisions to make, and we like to ease the burden.”

Over the years, that help has been extended to more than 60 women and their families.

Walk for Women, of course, took its name from its free awareness walk that is traditionally led by breast cancer survivors and their families. While no one had to pay a fee to join the walk, the event provided a way to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer.

“We want to provide a venue where people can celebrate those who have beaten breast cancer or to honor people who have been lost to breast cancer,” Hill said. “We take contributions and we sell T-shirts — that’s how we raise money.”

This week, the fundraising actually begins days before the walk. Walk for Women will have a Walk for Women Casino Night and a Walk for Women Fishing Tournament. The added events provide a major boost to the organization’s nonprofit coffers.

The theme for the casino night and auction this night is the Roaring ‘20s.

“During the casino night, while it’s fun, there’s so much camaraderie,” Hill said. “The community comes together and has a great time.”

For example, the night’s big auction is only possible because of the community’s support, such as businesses who sponsor the auction and provide the items on the auction block.

“It’s really a big community night,” Hill said. “You have to come. It’s a lot of fun.”

Still, Hill is quick to point out that it’s about more than fun.

“When we present a check to someone who has breast cancer and is going through it,” Hill said, “to see their relief when they open the card and see the check, there’s no description for that. It makes it all worthwhile.”

 

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

 

 

WALK FOR WOMEN CASINO NIGHT

TODAY

7 to 11 p.m.

Louie’s Backyard

Join a Roaring ‘20s-style casino atmosphere and auction at Louie’s Backyard. For $40 per person, attendees will receive $500 in gaming chips for craps, roulette and blackjack. Appetizers will be catered by Louie’s Backyard and are included. Cash bar. Winnings are used for chances to win prize packages. A live auction will feature some fabulous items, including the original artwork from this year’s walk T-shirt.

 

WALK FOR WOMEN FISHING TOURNAMENT

TOMORROW

7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Louie’s Backyard

Anglers can start at 7 am. Weigh in is from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

 

WALK FOR WOMEN

SUNDAY

8:30 a.m. 9:45 a.m.

South Padre Island Convention Centre

Registration is free. Same-day registration is from 8:30 am to 9:45 am at the SPI Convention Centre. Transportation to Convention Centre is not provided