Fort Yates Hosts Annual Cancer Walk - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Fort Yates Hosts Annual Cancer Walk

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It was a cold and windy day in Fort Yates, but that didn't stop people from stepping outside to promote cancer awareness.

It's a two-mile walk that could save lives. Fourteen people took those steps to raise cancer awareness on the Standing Rock Reservation.

"We find that Northern Plains American Indians do not survive cancer, because their cancers are found in late stages," says Jodi Fetsch the director of nursing at Custer Health.

The walk was scheduled to promote cancer awareness and encourage cancer screenings, but for some, it was about more than that.

"My mother passed away from cancer. All three of my sisters have cancer.  I'm the last of my siblings that, even as old as I am, I'm healthy! So, I figured, I'll walk, too. Because, I was going to quit," says John Little Shield a Standing Rock elder.

John Little Shield was the last person to finish the walk. He says he kept walking to honor his family and those who walked ahead of him.

Melissa Eagle, walked for Larry Luger, an important member of the community who died of lung cancer last year. She carried his picture with her. And, though it was cold and windy, she says his memory helped her finish.

"I was feeling really good. I took the picture, I looked at it, and I went like this, and I said, 'Look Larry, we made it!'" says Eagle.

This year was the fourth-year of the Cancer Walk, and with another one planned for 2015 this event appears to have no finish line.

Fetsch says people can be screened for cancer on the reservation, but specialized care isn't available in the area. And that's why prevention methods, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet are so important.
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