PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The 37th annual Susan G. Komen “More Than Pink” walk, which promotes breast cancer awareness and raises money for research, is officially returning to the Saturday of Mother’s Day Weekend in 2022.

The announcement came Wednesday morning from officials. The walk is set to take place on Saturday, May 7 at the Metro Centre on University Street. The opening ceremony will kick off the walk at 8 a.m.

Susan G. Komen Central Illinois Memorial Executive Director Gayle Young said the walks in 2020 and 2021 were both moved to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As an organization, we were not able to host in-person events March 2020 through June 2021, so we chose October for a second year in a row with the hopes we could come face-to-face with our Komen community. And we did! It was wonderful to see our friends face-to-face in October, but we are ready to get back to the weekend this community has celebrated for so many years,” Young said.

Katie Cox, the development manager said the More Than Pink Walk is more than just an event, but a fusion of advocacy.

“The significance of this event truly is more than pink,” Cox said. “We are more than a color we’re more than an event. We support all these pillars of our mission research. care, bringing the community together and advocacy.”

“We want people to know our reach in all the things that we do that’s led to us being able to reduce breast cancer mortality by 40% in the last 30 years.”

She said Mother’s Day weekend has always been a significant time for the walk.

“It was really to celebrate and signify bringing women together on this common mission to end breast cancer forever,” Cox said. “Obviously things have morphed, it is not just a women’s event, it’s not just a women’s disease, men can get breast cancer too.”

“So we do include and have opened up registration over the years so that children and men can register.”

Organizers said the fundraising goal for 2022’s walk in Peoria is $250,000. Those funds will support the organization’s investments in breakthrough research, patient care, public policy action at all levels of government, and more.

Those interested can register for the event at www.komen.org/peoriawalk. Registration for the walk is free, and all participants who raise a minimum of $100 will receive a commemorative event t-shirt.

Survivors and those living with metastatic breast cancer will also receive a special t-shirt recognizing their contribution to the event.

An interactive walk experience is available through the “More Than Pink” app for registered participants.

Participants who register and make a self-donation by Sunday, Jan. 16 will be entered to win one of two gift cards worth $100. Winners will have the option of selecting which Metro Centre store they would like to receive their $100 gift card from.

The Komen Memorial team will also introduce the 2022 Central Illinois BigWigs, which introduces 10 local individuals who have committed to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer while wearing a pink wig to events, meetings, appointments, and all around town. 

The organization hosted its first BigWigs campaign in 2021 and raised more than $92,000.