Backed by U.S Customs and Border Patrol and the Port of Brownsville, law enforcement officers and first responders from across the region walked together Thursday morning in Brownsville to spread awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The walk along University Boulevard between Gateway and Veterans international bridges brought together breast cancer survivors, people whose lives the disease has touched and people simply wanting to make a statement about the deadly disease.

Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz brought a personal story, recalling that a month after winning his district attorney’s race in 2013 he found out that his wife Delia had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I’m here to honor her and everyone else who’s been through this terrible ordeal,” he said. “After we found out we spent the next 18 months between here and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I went from being on top of the world after winning a very competitive race to being brought to my knees 30 days later. You never forget.”

The Mexican Consulate in Brownsville, along with representatives from the Brownsville Police Department, Cameron County Sheriff’s Office, Brownsville Fire Department and other law enforcement and first responders participated in the event.

Elias Rodriguez, public affairs liaison for the Port of Brownsville, said the port participated in the walk “because we know and recognize that early detection makes all the difference between stage 1, stage 2, 3 or 4 and surviving breast cancer. … The message we want to spread is to get timely check-ups.”

Cameron County Clerk Sylvia Garza-Perez was there dressed in pink “to support breast cancer awareness and our law enforcement officers, and because it was great opportunity to see men dressed in pink,” she said.

The walk ended in the export lot at Veterans International Bridge, where there were refreshments and screenings for a number of medical conditions.

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Only lung cancer kills more women each year. The chance that a woman will die from breast cancer is about 1 in 39, or about 2.6%.

Since 2007, breast cancer death rates have been steady in women younger than 50, but have continued to decrease in older women. From 2013 to 2018, the death rate went down by 1% per year.

These decreases are believed to be the result of finding breast cancer earlier through screening and increased awareness, as well as better treatments, the ACC said.

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View Brownsville Herald photojournalist Miguel Roberts’s photo gallery of the walk here:

Photo Gallery: Breast Cancer Walk