“You can fight it and you can beat it.” Breast cancer survivor honored at annual KSU walk

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – A two-mile breast cancer awareness walk at Kentucky State University Friday morning was more than just a walk. It was a celebration of a woman who is not only a survivor, but also a beacon of hope.

The crowd cheered as Chrystal Woodard crossed the finish line.

“It just took me longer than everybody else, but I finished,” Woodard said. “It’s been a long battle for me. I was diagnosed in June of 2018 with breast cancer, triple negative breast cancer.”

It’s considered a more aggressive form of the disease than any other types, and is more likely to occur in younger Black and Hispanic women, according to breastcancer.org.

Woodard said seeing dozens of fellow KSU alum, current students and other supporters come out meant a lot.

“It helps lift my spirits because I’m currently in treatment, so it helps lift my spirit to continue on in this battle against breast cancer,” Woodard said.

Supporters and organizers said Woodard’s story hits close to home.

“[It’s] the simple fact of supporting her,” Tyrie Nason Buchanan said. “[It’s] the simple fact that it’s personal to me – that I lost family members to cancer.” Buchanan, a KSU alum, said he’s also walked in honor of his organization, DMTL, that combats violence. It’s named in honor of his family members who he lost to gun violence.

“I have lost a family member to cancer, and then I also have my god mom, she’s a survivor, so just seeing how she’s been able to push through and survive, I want to be able to be a part of anything that I can help when it comes to that,” Christina Sandusky Johnson said. She’s an account executive at LM Communications, a co-sponsor of the event.

“I’ve got a friend who’s got breast cancer, and it’s a tough battle, so we want to be here to do what we can,” Lauralea Pfendler said, who’s a client services associate for Baird in Lexington, a financial supporter of the walk.

Woodard said she knows it’s to stay optimistic.

“But you can fight it and you can beat it,” Woodard said. “There’s a lot of these woman out here today who are survivors.”

And she plans to continue being one of them.

“I’m gonna stay and fight until I can’t fight anymore,” Woodard said.

Even though the in-person walk is done, anyone can still support the fundraiser by participating in the virtual walk.

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