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Hundreds support Cancer Support Center’s Walk of Hope

Breast cancer survivor Verna Robinzine, flanked by her son, Ronnell Robinzine, left, and her husband, Alvin Robinzine,
is a loyal supporter of the Cancer Support Center. The family was among the hundreds of supporters
who came out for the annual Walk of Hope. (Marilyn Thomas photos/H-F Chronicle)

Supporters decked out in pink came out Sunday, Oct. 15, to help the Pink-a-Boo Walk of Hope meet its $75,000 goal for the Cancer Support Center.

More than 400 people registered for the walk through Homewood. Walkers started out at the center, 2028 Elm Road, and selected a 1- or 3-mile route. Those in attendance all sang the praises of the CSC. In 2022, CSC reported serving more than 2,000 individuals affected by cancer. 

“The CSC is here for everyone, it’s just letting them know about it. Once you cross those doors it makes a world of difference in your journey,” said Verna Robinzine, a nine-year cancer survivor.

Robinzine said for her CSC “was like a beacon of light in the darkness when I was having my oncology treatments.” A nurse recommended she check out CSC’s services. She joined a support group nine years ago, and “I’ve been at the Cancer Support Center ever since.” She credits the Sistas of Hope group that nurtures Black women dealing with cancer, and the other activities at the center that helped her through her diagnosis and treatment.

Kathleen Daly, executive director of CSC, said services provided for cancer patients and their supporters are free, but stressed “that is only because of fundraisers like this and donors in our community. The community aways shows up for our Fall Walk of Hope. They are amazing and everything that we do would not be possible without their help.”

The Josephine Elizabeth Seaton Franklin Foundation, based in Matteson, was represented at the walk. The organization works throughout the South Suburbs. Health issues are among its initiatives, so being present at the Walk of Hope was on the foundation’s agenda this year, said member Marie Garnett.

Rhonda Gardner is a 16-year cancer survivor, and a 15-year volunteer at the Cancer Support Center. A friend at church told her about all that was available at CSC. Even though she had completed her treatments, Gardner said she “liked what was going on here, and I became a volunteer.”

Members of the Josephine Elizabeth Seaton Franklin Foundation, from left, Jacqueline James Lewis, Charmaine Azeez, Marilyn Payton and Marie Garnett shared information about their work on health care initiatives with supporters of the Cancer Support Center. 

The Bishop family came out in support of Donna Torres who got a cancer diagnosis two years ago. Torres’s sister Evie Bishop, niece Kristen Bishop and Kristen’s husband Brian were ready to walk in Torres’ honor, and in memory of other relatives who died from cancer.

Young and old didn’t let the early morning rain dampen their spirits. The sun broke through around 9 a.m. just as the crowd, including members of Girl Scout Troop 65614 from Burbank, got ready to start their walk. Leader Adriana Kieffer said she told the girls they would be supporting the community and people who don’t have the resources for cancer care like that provided for free at the Cancer Support Center. 

“We’re there to cheer them on,” Kieffer said, noting that for some of the Girl Scouts, the message was very personal because their family members have been touched by cancer.

Evie Bishop, Kristen Bishop and Brian Bishop supporters of the Cancer Support Center, participated in the Walk of Hope in honor
of Donna Torres, a cancer survivor and sister of Evie. (Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle)

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