SARASOTA, Fla. - John Wiseman of JP Wiseman Construction and his wife, Jenny, have played a big role in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events in Sarasota and Manatee counties as sponsors and participants.
"People will come around and give you their story and you feel good that you made a difference in that person's life," said John.
The initial involvement was particularly personal.
"My mother passed at 48 of breast cancer. She had poor insurance. There wasn't a lot of wellness care back then and this is going back 30 years," said John.
But at 41 years old, Jenny would have her own breast cancer diagnosis.
"You don't believe it at first. I'm a healthy 41-year-old at the time. Zero family history," said Jenny.
It was early-stage breast cancer. Jenny had a lumpectomy and then radiation. She credits her medical team for staying persistent.
"I had zero symptoms. I had zero pain. You could not feel my pain. So if it wasn't for those tests, that they stayed on and on me about, it wouldn't have been discovered that early," Jenny said. "So many women might say, 'Oh, I don't have a lump so it's no concern at all.' Well, you can't feel it in a self-exam."
And that's why events like Making Strides are so important. The donations go towards research, programs and awareness to help other women have a chance at a positive outcome.
"I look at this from two perspectives. One, where you have all of the right care and the right attention and the other where you don't pay enough attention to yourself and medical teams don't pay enough attention to you," said John.
And while the pandemic may have changed the events this year, the Wisemans point out that the cause never stops.
"Breast cancer and other illnesses, they're still there, they're still attacking the bodies of women and, in some cases, men and we can't lose focus on that," said John.
The American Cancer Society invites everyone to Walk Your Way, Saturday, Oct.17 and Sunday, Oct. 18. You can join a team, walk with friends and family or walk on your own, wherever you are.
To find out how to participate in the virtual Making Strides events, head over to the websites for the Tampa event and the Sarasota-Manatee event.