INDIANAPOLIS – Thousands of Hoosiers gathered in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday for the Susan G. Komen “More Than Pink Walk.”

The event took place at Celebration Plaza at White River State Park where more than 5,000 people gathered. Event organizers said the Walk had raised more than $300,000 ahead of its start, which is more than this year’s goal.

Ahead of the Walk itself there is ceremony that gives breast cancer patients and survivors a sense of hope.

“There’s a really special ceremony where the ‘Parade of Hope’ they leave ‘Hope Village’ and they walk out in order of years of survival,” described Jennifer Milewski, Executive Director of Susan G. Komen Indiana. “It’s an emotional moment.”

The event itself can be emotional for many cancer survivors, but it can also be therapeutic.

“It just makes me feel like helping out other survivors and showing them, ‘keep going. Keep the fight. I did it, you can do it,” said breast cancer survivor Stacy Sconnaver. “It just makes me feel good to help people and listen to them.”

Sconnaver was diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer back in May 2020. After numerous surgeries, she is now a two-year cancer survivor.

“You have to think about what you are going to do about your family,” she said. “My husband and I sat down and planned what we needed to plan in case something happened, because Chemo and radiation would not have worked for me. I’m going on my seventh surgery next week. So, it’s been a long journey, but I’m here!”

Other cancer survivors say it can be a long journey, but they also agree the event is a good chance to spread hope.

“I started out with Chemo, then surgery, then radiation,” said Tracey Davidson, who is now at her five-year mark. “Just getting your body back after all of that is a struggle sometimes. Your immune system is not what it is. But today I feel great. It’s a wonderful feeling to be at that five-year mark. They told me I’m out of the woods. I’m happy and grateful.”

The journey can also be a long one for family and friends. Tracey Davidson’s husband Randy said he stood by his wife’s side the whole time.

“It’s been a journey, but she’s my rock,” Randy Davidson said. “She helped me as much as I helped her. It’s brought us closer together. We’ve been blessed through this whole process.”

Saturday’s awareness event is also a chance for some people to heal after losing loved ones to cancer. Megan Hughes lost her grandmother more than 10 years ago.

“She was important to us,” Hughes said. “It’s tough when you lose somebody like that. So we’re here trying to give back to some people so they don’t have to go through it.”

Hughes, like many others who have lost relatives to breast cancer, said the event is a great chance to remember them and help spread awareness.