COSTA MESA ( — Thousands of people hit the streets of Orange County on Sunday to help fight breast cancer.

Nearly 12,000 people participated in the third annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K, which began at 8 a.m., at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

David Veneziano, Vice President of American Cancer Society of California, told CBS2/KCAL9’s Joy Benedict that organizers expect the event to raise $185,000 for research and prevention.

“It’s not just about raising money today. It’s about raising hope and that’s what we’re doing today. The American Cancer Society will raise hope for those individuals who need us and again, I think it’s so exciting. Our third annual here in Orange County raising over $180,000,” he said.

“We want to support the cause. We want to find a cure for breast cancer, as well as, other cancers and this is our way of supporting that effort,” said Brenda Bianchino, a breast cancer survivor.

She told Benedict that she was diagnosed with the disease in December 2011.

“I had my cancer surgery January 26 and reconstructive surgery May 15th. So I’m moving forward,” Bianchino added. “My advice to anyone out there is: make sure you get your mammograms because that’s how mine was found and it was found in time to deal with it.”

Three-year breast cancer survivor Cynthia Roberson volunteered at the event to let others know that they too can survive the disease.

Said Roberson, “you have to fight for your life… and there are so many people that are involved that you need to fight for besides yourself.”

CBS2/KCAL9 is the proud media sponsor of American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K.

Veneziano said the American Cancer Society is looking for about 400,000 cancer-free men and women nationwide to participate in a new study called the Cancer Prevention Study 3 (CPS-3), which will look at the causation of the disease.

“Our goal in California is approximately 32,000 and Orange County will have the opportunity to sign up in October,” Veneziano said.

For eligibility requirements and more information about CPS-3, visit the American Cancer Society online.

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