Love And Honor
Suzy Taylor draws upon the courage of her beloved mother and aunt for inspiration to champion the fight against breast cancer as event chairman of the Komen Ocean City MORE THAN PINK Walk
Written by Victor Fernandes / Photography by Grant L. Gursky
Suzy Taylor will have little time to herself during the Komen Ocean City MORE THAN PINK Walk on April 13 at the Ocean City Boardwalk.
But the event chairman and Berlin resident will quietly slip into the Remembrance Tent, even for a few moments, to honor family members who have inspired Taylor to work with Susan G. Komen Maryland for 15 years and help organize this annual event every year for eight years.
Taylor lost her mother, Joanne Everly George, to breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 43. Taylor’s aunt, Judy Everly Donaldson, lost her battle with the disease in 2006 at the age of 64. “They were both very instrumental in who I am as a person, and I think they would be proud of the work I’m doing for breast cancer now,” Taylor said. “Even though my mom and aunt will be there in my thoughts, the Remembrance Tent will give me time to sit down and honor them. It’s just a good place to stop and have a little connection with them.”
The event has a new name this year, because the MORE THAN PINK Walk stands as much for research and finding a cure for breast cancer as it does for raising awareness. But the formerly named Ocean City Race for the Cure remains Susan G. Komen Maryland’s biggest fundraiser, as the state’s affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation has set a goal of raising $160,000 for this year.
“It’s a really inspiring, uplifting event, seeing the survivors, as well as those living with metastatic cancer. There’s really a lot of positive energy.” — Suzy Taylor
“It’s about raising money, but it’s also about awareness and community spirit,” Taylor said. “It’s a really inspiring, uplifting event, seeing the survivors, as well as those living with metastatic cancer. There’s really a lot of positive energy.”
Remembrance Tent and Hope Village will serve as special sections within the larger Celebration Village, which will open at 7:30 a.m. at the Ocean City Inlet. In the Remembrance Tent, visitors can write a card, leave a note or sign a panel to celebrate family members and friends who have survived breast cancer or memorialize those who succumbed to the disease. Hope Village will serve as a sanctuary for breast cancer survivors and people living with metastatic breast cancer. They will enjoy special perks, such as chair massages, gifts and food.
“It’s a place for them to feel special and valued and celebrate their journeys,” Taylor said of the guests of honor, who will lead the Parade of Pink around the inlet at 8:20 a.m. That is followed by the MORE THAN PINK Walk, which begins at about 9 a.m. and features a 5K walk from Celebration Village to 18th Street. From there, it’s a trip around the pier before returning to the village’s mainstage.
The event concludes with music, dancing and a beer garden at the inlet. Taylor will be busy at work. Her mother and aunt will be with her throughout the day. “She’s pretty much on my mind every day,” Taylor said of her mother. “It’s been a long time, but there’s barely a day that goes by that I don’t think something about her and my aunt. Whenever I’m in any of these events, they’re definitely top-of-mind.”
To register, donate or volunteer for the 8th annual Komen Ocean City MORE THAN PINK Walk, visit www.maryland.info-komen.org.