San Francisco Zoo brings back breast cancer awareness walk

For the first time since pre-pandemic days, the Bay Area held an in-person breast cancer awareness walk.

Hundreds of people walked the trails of the San Francisco Zoo honoring those who've lived with cancer.

Typically, an opening ceremony would kick off the event, but organizers opted to run the opening ceremonies online.

Many who survived breast cancer shared their stories.

"I was diagnosed in 2005," said Ellen Shaler of Oakland. "If it's caught early like mine was, I'm here 16 years later and I had a very high risk but I was able to take appropriate steps in a very timely manner."

Shaler has participated in the walk since her diagnosis. This year, she raised more than $10,000.

KTVU spoke to one woman who says she lived with cancer during COVID-19 lockdown.

"In hindsight, it was a good time to have cancer," said Kirsten Fordyce-Wheeler. "I mean my husband was home. I was home. I could kind of hide away and deal with my treatment."

Organizers say they expect to see a rise in late state breast cancer diagnosis and even deaths. That's because treatments and medical visits were delayed as a result of the COVID19 protocols.

"Don't put it off any longer," said Megan Klink, regional vice president of the Susan G. Komen foundation. "October is breast cancer awareness month and this event is way to get this top of mind. Get that appointment because when you catch it early, your chances of survival are much higher."