Cancer survivors to take part in third Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk

HOUSTON – Once again, KPRC is sponsoring the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

Health reporter Haley Hernandez spoke with a woman taking part in this year's walk who knows about the fight against breast cancer all too well.

In 2014, when Marilyn Russell first started the group "Crafty Chicks" to participate in the walk, she didn't know the disease was silently making strides inside her own body.

"When I got into the shower I realized my breast was deformed, it had deformed overnight," Russell said.

She immediately had a double mastectomy and began chemotherapy.

"I called all of my members of Crafty Chicks and they gathered around me and we just fought it," she said.

By the next year's walk, Russell was weaker, but kept walking with her team -- a group of women who grew even closer when several members unexpectedly got the life-changing diagnosis.

"This is before any of us realized that we had breast cancer," Russell said. "So it was like God had prepared me the first year."

Four of the original members of her team had breast cancer by their second year of the walk.

This Saturday, their third year walking together, several of these women are undergoing treatment and Russell is on track for reconstruction.

It's the difficult reality that comes from a cancer fight, but Russell says the one thing they've never experienced since forming their group is fear or isolation.

"I was so scared, but so many people rallied around me from Crafty Chicks, from Making Strides, that I never felt alone. It's in you, you just don't realize it. Sometimes it takes something like this to pull it out of you," she said.

This year's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk starts at 9 a.m. Saturday morning at Discovery Green Park in downtown.

Britta Merwin will emcee the event.