North Fork Breast Health Coalition board members and supporters before at the organization's 25th anniversary 5K walk at Tanger Outlets on Sunday, Sept. 24. Photo: Qunti Nigro

Yesterday’s soggy weather didn’t stop the North Fork Breast Health Coalition’s annual 5K walk at Tanger Outlets – where the annual walk to raise awareness and money to support local breast cancer patients has taken place for 25 years.

The organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Founded in 1998 by Ann Cotten-DeGrasse and her husband Antonio, the North Fork Breast Health Coalition has lent a helping hand to North Fork breast cancer patients and their families ever since.

Walkers of all ages gathered under the shelter of the covered sidewalks at Tanger to sign up for the raffle, register for the event, and warm up before the walk. 

This year, individuals and organizations could sponsor custom lawn signs, which were placed around the perimeter of the 5K route around the outlet mall. These signs were mostly dedicated to friends and family, and many were adorned with messages for walkers.

READ MORE: North Fork Breast Health Coalition’s 25th annual 5K walk for breast cancer awareness steps off Sept. 24 at Tanger Outlets

The inclement weather did affect the funds raised by the event this year, NFBHC Vice President Bernadette Tuthill said. Most walkers wait to see what the weather will be, and register the day of the event. But, she noted, “We have a lot of strong people out here that have been through cancer. A little rain doesn’t register on their radar.”

Tuthill’s assessment of Sunday’s walkers was spot-on. Although the crowd was lighter than the typical turnout, other years, the walkers who attended were lively, with lots of chatter and big smiles shared between them.

Tuthill was unphased by the size of the crowd. “It’s a community effort,” she said. “It all sort of balances out.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the North Fork Breast Health Coalition can do so on the organization’s website.

“This is a big year for us,” Tuthill said in remarks before the walk got underway. “We’re grateful for everyone who was able to join us… we’re fortunate to have all these people come and support us again this year,” she said.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Quint Nigro

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