A tide of pink complemented the orange, red and yellow foliage of the White Memorial Conservation Center on Sunday when the American Cancer Society held its annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.
More than 400 participants, many of them clad in pink, walked a 3.1-mile loop through the woods to raise awareness and funding for the American Cancer Society's fight against breast cancer.
Beth Michalec of Torrington, a breast cancer survivor, was one of the walkers. Before participants walked beneath a rainbow of pink ribbons and into the woods, Michalec grabbed a microphone and talked about her experience in beating cancer.
"I consider myself one of the lucky ones," Michalec, a teacher, said in describing her life after a breast cancer diagnosis in 2003.
"Having a positive attitude is invaluable when you're fighting cancer."
Michalec endured a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation while missing several months of school. Eleven years later she's healthy and is one of the many local supporters of the American Cancer Society. Her job Sunday was supervising the hospitality tent for breast cancer survivors.
Ellen Hubbard of Norfolk, another breast cancer survivor, also addressed the crowd. She spoke about the importance of raising money for the American Cancer Society so it can continue to provide advocacy and resources for those with breast cancer and research seeking a cure.
"I'm a survivor, and the American Cancer Society has been so important in my life," Hubbard said. "So much goes into saving the lives we are here to honor."
Among the walkers were groups of students from Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield, the Forman School in Litchfield, Torrington High School and the Taft School in Watertown.
Torrington High School football coach Gaitan Rodriguez and four of his players turned out to walk. Tyler Marens, who scored four touchdowns in a 35-0 win over Sacred Heart-Kaynor Tech on Saturday, walked with his mother, Valerie Bohren.
Bohren and several of her fellow employees at O&G Industries in Torrington walked as a group under the name Powerful in Pink. They raised $2,500 for the cause. Organizers were hoping to exceed the $65,000 raised last year.