Just before daybreak on Oct. 19, a circle of people attired in pink and white T-shirts clasped hands together in prayer with Rev. Willish Johnson before the start of the 4th Monica Adderley Annual Fun, Run & Walk at 6:30 a.m.
As the 77 registered participants walked briskly to the starting line, they were given road safety instructions by mobile police officers on the scene. The runners took the lead, while those who opted to walk trailed behind in the cool of the morning.
The route led them from St. John the Baptist Anglican Parish Hall to the Captain Shervin Archer Circle (commonly referred to as the airport roundabout) and back to the Parish Hall.
Shelly Austin greeted each person upon their return, and thanked Baptist Hospital for its sponsorship of the event. Jo-Ann Bradley, president of the Abaco Cancer Society (ACS), was also acknowledged for the organization’s support, and part proceeds were donated to them.
For the past four years, the Anglican Church Women of St. John the Baptist Anglican Church has honoured breast cancer survivor – Monica Adderley – as their patron. The event also helps to bring awareness to the benefits of the early detection of cancer.
Winning participants included: Jamal Hepburn of Bahamas WiMax, who was the overall winner in the running category. Evelyn Smith was the overall winner amongst the walkers. Additionally, groups were encouraged to participate in the event, so the Bahamas Electrical Corporation attained the winning prize for the largest group with 20 persons.
George Martin, who placed first in the men’s under 50 category, said it was his first time participating and that he had enjoyed himself. Martin and his wife, Rashel, were a winning combination in the Fun Run & Walk because she placed first in her category as well.
Meanwhile, AJ Newbold was happy to reclaim his winning status in the under 20 category.
As for Adderley, she was grateful to the Anglican Church Women for hosting the event. She added that with her being the patron, everyone knows why and who they are walking in support of. Adderley was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2006, and now almost eight years later, her cancer is in remission.
“I am a fighter,” she declared. “I am enjoying every moment of it, and thanking God every day when I open my eyes first thing. I try to do the right thing by eating right and staying positive. Getting discouraged is not in my vocabulary, so I keep going every day.
“I have a huge family when it comes to support, and my immediate family always [gives] 110 percent. My church family is awesome, and I don’t care what anybody says, they are there for me.”
Cleome Turner presented a gift to Adderley describing her as “a lady who has so much energy and enthusiasm and is an inspiration to us all.” Following the awards presentation, Austin invited Jo-Ann Bradley to speak on behalf of the Abaco Cancer Society and as a breast cancer survivor.
“The enthusiasm for this event is so wonderful,” Bradley expressed. “I have breast cancer, and I felt very alone when I was diagnosed.”
She later received a call from Nadeen Beneby, an ACS member, who told her she was not alone. Other members began to reach out to her, and through the years, she became more involved. ACS assists cancer patients with travel expenses to and from their doctors’ visits, and the money used to assist them comes from things they sell specifically through their Thrift Shop. The Thrift Shop is located next to Abaco Groceries, and is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
“Be generous with your monies,” she urged. “This year we have helped 85 people back and forth with air travel, and a little more when they are most desperate.”
Printed material was given to all participants, and there was a table set up for the Abaco Cancer Society to sell cancer-related items. The tentative date for next year’s Monica Adderley Annual Fun, Run & Walk is Oct. 18, 2014.