BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is the largest network of awareness events in the nation with more than 200 walks- so much so that they’re already preparing and packing supplies a week in advance for next Sunday’s walk.

The 18th American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer will feature caregivers, friends and survivors- one of whom said cancer is the best thing to ever happen to her.

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Baltimore’s Linda Cookingham is one of America’s three and a half million cancer survivors in the U.S.

She remembers the exact moment her life would change forever after a call with her doctor eight years ago.

“I went to his office that very same day and he said to me, ‘Everything you liked to do, you like to do fast and get it over with,’ He said this isn’t a sprint. It’s a marathon,” Cookingham said.

After multiple rounds of chemotherapy, Cookingham found out the radiation didn’t work. She thought about her five grandchildren- four of them under 12 years old.

They are the reason she donates her time to save the next person, they’re the reason why she fights.

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“Everything,” She said. “Everything. That’s it. My life is full. My life is full of love and fun and there’s always something to do. I couldn’t have asked for a better situation for my life,”

Over 5,000 women in Maryland will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2019 alone- but Cookingham said it’s her attitude- a mindset- energizing her every day. Her thoughts on cancer may shock many.

“Having cancer was probably one of the best things to happen in my life. It made me aware of so much more and to appreciate life and I met so many wonderful people,” Cookingham said.

More than 1.2 million of those people raise more than $60 million for the American Cancer Society- all a part of a goal to beat this, to unite the fighters as one.

“Be positive. Have hope. Don’t give up. Don’t let the negative consume you,” Cookingham added.

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Registration for the walk begins 7:30 a.m. on October 13. You can sign up for the walk here.