Making 'Mini Strides'

Aegis of Queen Anne at Rodgers Park holds breast cancer walk

Joann Sparks walked the quarter-mile loop of the Queen Anne Bowl on Sunday morning in honor of her mom.

Oct. 8 was her birthday; she passed away shortly after turning 66, from breast cancer. But the serendipitous date made her daughter’s participation in the “Mini Strides” Against Breast Cancer Walk a no-brainer.

“When they said Oct. 8, I said, ‘Oh, it’s made to be,’” Sparks said.

Hosted by Aegis of Queen Anne at Rodgers Park, dozens lapped the track outside the senior living community for nearly two hours, raising money for the American Cancer Society.

While some, like Sparks, were honoring the memory of loved ones, others like Linda Pruzan were celebrating their own triumphs. Pruzan, who recently moved into the Rodgers Park community after living in Magnolia, is a cancer survivor.

“I thought, I’ve got to be involved in this,” she said. “… Everybody here is wonderful, really, really wonderful.”

Erin Staadecker, life enrichment director at Aegis of Queen Anne at Rodgers Park, said giving back to the community is one of the focuses of their program. This cause was one that affected everyone.

“Just about everybody, whether they’re family or neighbors or friends, somebody has been touched by breast cancer in one way or another, so we wanted to really make October about this event, about Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” she said.

Initially, the goal for the efforts of the “Rodgers Park Pink Panthers,” was $1,000, a mark that Staadecker called, “really lofty,” at the time.

But, that initial mark only took a couple of hours to reach.

“We were aiming too low,” she said.

Soon, a new goal of $5,000 was set, a mark that Staadecker said, “just seemed out of this world.”

Ultimately, the community stepped up in an otherworldly way.

By the end of Sunday’s festivities, a total of $5,133 has been raised; About half of that mark came from online donations, with more than $1,000 in cash, almost $900 in silent auction bids, and nearly $700 in checks collected for the cause. All of those proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.

“Everyone of us in our community today — whether we’re a staff member or family member or resident — we know that we got up this morning and we made a really big difference,” she said.

To learn more about the Oct. 21 Making Strides of Seattle walk at CenturyLink Field, visit To comment on this story, write to