The annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and fundraiser is coming up next month in Raleigh, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

"As an organization, this year is our 25th walk but we have been doing this for 11 years in Raleigh," said Tracey Smith, senior community developmental manger for the ACS. "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer is our powerful and inspiring event that unites communities to celebrate people who have battled breast cancer, raise awareness about the steps we can take to help prevent the disease and raise money to find cures and support programs and services for those facing the disease."

Smith has local ties -- being born and raised in Goldsboro and a graduate of Goldsboro High School.

The public is invited to the Oct. 14 event, a noncompetitive 3- to 5-mile walk to raise awareness and funds for those touched by breast cancer.

The events, held in communities around the nation, raise money for research, provide information and support to patients and help reduce the risk of breast cancer or detect it early.

From the morning's opening ceremony to the post-walk entertainment, Making Strides is a celebration of survivors as well as an opportunity to remember those lost to the disease.

"The Raleigh event draws participants from as far away as the c coast, from Wilmington, Greenville and Goldsboro," Smith said. "We have 25 surrounding counties.

"We have corporate teams, family teams, individual participants who come out and support the walk. We typically have about 5,000 to 7,000 people come out and walk."

The Saturday event will be held at Midtown Park North Hills in Raleigh, with registration at 8 a.m. and the walk kicking off at 9.

There will also be an opening ceremony and performances going on at 8, along with entertainment and family events throughout the morning.

"There's no cost to register," Smith said. "However, this is a fundraiser. There's no minimum or maximum that you're required to raise but we encourage participants to try and raise $100.

"We encourage people to register in advance, but you can still register that day."

Those who register ahead of time will not need to wait in line that morning, unless they have donations to turn in, she said.

"Otherwise, the only thing you need to do is get your official registration sticker -- there'll be a line to pick that up," she said.

Anyone who wants to be part an existing team, or interested in joining friends on the walk, can visit the official website and look up the team or individual's name to register.

The website will also serve as an ongoing fundraising tool, Smith said.

"Our campaign is not official over until Dec. 31, so people can fundraise after the event as well and continue sending in donations until the end of the year," she said.

For more information or to get involved, visit www.makingstrideswalk.org/raleighnc, call 919-34405241 or email Tracey.Smith@cancer.org.