On Sunday, breast cancer survivors, family and friends, and community groups came out to University of Arizona’s Tech Park for “Pink Out the Park.”

The Making Strides Against Cancer event focuses on awareness, advocacy and remembrance.

The event is so important to show people that there is survivorship after cancer, and theres healthy survivorship after cancer,” said Dr. Elizabeth Almli with Tucson Cancer Conquerors, a non-profit, volunteer support group.

Almli had a mammogram done 17 years ago, but it never picked up on the lump in her breast. She found it during a self-examination.

It turned out to be very aggressive. So, she underwent a year of chemotherapy and a mastectomy, followed with breast reconstructive surgery.

Im a physician and Ive been involved in the care of cancer patients for over 30 years,” she revealed. “Never did I think Id be the one sitting in the chemotherapy infusion chair.”

Now Almlis helping other women on their own journeys with cancer. She says awareness is key, and so is leaning on support groups like theirs.

“Just because youre diagnosed, doesnt mean its a death sentence,” Almli said. “I mean, look at us. Weve never been more alive. So, theres always hope.

Julie Ragland is also a breast cancer survivor and chose not to have breast reconstruction after her surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Her aim is to advocate for women who might be pressured to opt for implants after having a mastectomy.

Theres a big community of women that are now choosing aesthetic flat closure and telling the world that we dont need breasts to be fully formed women and survivors, Ragland said while holding a sign which read “Flat, Finer, Survivor.”

But really, she said, the walk is about honoring everyone’s story.

I found a couple of other flatties here, so when we see flatties in the wild, we always have a big flat-chested hug for each other,” Ragland teased.