BEVERLY — Sunny skies and 70-degree temperatures are predicted as thousands will gather Sunday for the 18th annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk.
The three-mile walk begins at 8 a.m. Mother's Day at Ridge Park. Some 14,000 people are expected to participate in the event that winds through the tree-lined streets.
It costs $30 for pre-registered adults to participate in the walk and $15 for children 18 and younger. Registration is also available on the day of the walk for $40 and $20 for children.
Since its inception, the walk has raised more than $5 million for Little Company of Mary Hospital in nearby Evergreen Park. The money is funneled directly into the hospital's Comprehensive Breast Health Center.
Last year, the hospital also created the BBCW Crisis Fund, which helps area breast cancer patients who are struggling financially. The 2016 walk also helped to provide medical equipment, supplies and services to breast cancer patients in El Salvador.
“The countless hours spent by the committee and dedicated volunteers on registration, marketing, fundraising, entertainment and merchandising has not gone unnoticed, and our gratitude for what all the effort accomplishes is immense,” said Brian Lepacek, executive director of the hospital's foundation.
The walk began in 2000 as an off-shoot of Y-Me's then-preeminent Mother's Day Race Against Breast Cancer. Carol Moriarty, her sister Nancy Mulcah and friend Lisa O’Brien opted to walk in their neighborhood rather than make the trek Downtown.
Moriarty is a breast cancer survivor and received treatment at Little Company of Mary.
From such humble beginnings, the walk has become a neighborhood staple. Many residents along the route decorate their homes for the occasion with modest flair such as pink ribbons to more vivacious displays including hundreds of bras strung from trees.
Still others open up their driveways and garages to local bands, Irish dance troupes, exercise demonstrations and more. Perhaps as a result, the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk has since surpassed similar walks and fundraisers held Downtown.
"Eighteen years is living proof that if we join hands and talents together, we can make a difference — and save lives,” Lepacek said.
The final chance to pick up T-shirts and register in person ahead of the walk will be from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday in the main lobby of the hospital at 2800 W. 95th St. in Evergreen Park.