Since its inception, the walk has raised more than $5 million for the hospital in suburban Evergreen Park. Last year, the hospital also created the BBCW Crisis Fund, which helps area breast cancer patients who are struggling financially.
The 2016 walk helped to provide medical equipment, supplies and services to breast cancer patients in El Salvador too. Representatives from this effort were on hand for a special Mass held ahead of the walk.
The Rev. Tom Hurley of Old St. Patrick’s Church in the West Loop conducted services at 6:45 a.m. at a home near the start of the walk. The mass was coordinated by Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School in Mount Greenwood.
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 Mulcahy 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, ranging from adornments modest flair, like 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,” said Brian Lepacek, executive director of the hospital's foundation.