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Survivors and supporters braved the rain during the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Miromar Outlets in Estero on Saturday, October 19. Alex Driehaus, Naples Daily News

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Sue McCoin kept up with her early mammograms and ultra sounds. None of them ever detected the stage three cancer diagnosis she would soon learn about. 

McCoin, 67, of Marco Island was diagnosed with breast cancer after her doctor suggested an MRI due to her dense breast tissue — which makes it hard to detect cancer through traditional screenings. 

She was in shock, but support from family and friends kept her strong through chemotherapy and radiation treatment. 

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McCoin braved a rainstorm with hundreds of survivors and supporters Saturday morning at Miromar Outlets for the annual Making Strides Breast Cancer walk. 

The American Cancer Society started the walks nationwide to unite communities in the fight against cancer, according to  its website. 

The Southwest Florida organization raised nearly $180,000 by late Saturday morning. 

For Audrey McFalls, 59, of Cape Coral, the event was very emotional. She is a breast cancer survivor and has been cancer free for six years. 

"The treatment is brutal, but after you are anything but done, she said. "It changes you. you are not the same person you were before and life becomes so different." 

Her advice to woman and men in the beginning stages of a diagnosis is to stay strong and to have regular screenings. 

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Luzmila Guerrero, 68, walked at the event along with her son and granddaughters. She said for them, learning about her diagnosis was hard, but they always supported her. 

"I thought it was a death sentence," she said in Spanish. 

Rose Jackson, or Fort Myers was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. She has been cancer free for seven years but recently lost her daughter to the same disease. 

Sometimes, she said she would pray for God to take her.

"It was just that bad," she said. 

But family and friends helped her navigate the most difficult moments. 

"You just need to catch it early. Get your mammograms, and catch it early," she said.  

Think pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Month events abound from Naples to Fort Myers

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