BOSTON (CBS) – Julie Tolek was mid-treatment last fall, when she walked the six miles for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. This weekend’s rolling rally might feel different, but she’s just as passionate.

“It was very moving and an empowering experience. It gave me a lot of hope to do it then. Keeping that spirit going even though it’s different this year is super important,” she said.

Covid-19 has changed so much. But there’s still great need for cancer research funding. Julie just lost a dear friend.

“She’s still with me every day and I hear her voice and I know this is something she would want to do and want to talk about,” she said.

Because of the pandemic, some experts worry there could be a delayed flood of diagnoses, potentially at more advanced stages. According to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, springtime data shows a significant decline in breast cancer rates – by more than 50%.

“I have received feedback from people who have seen my posts who say, ‘Thanks for the reminder. Everything is so weird right now, I almost didn’t go. Because you said something I decided to make my appointment.’ That means the world to me,” Julie said.

We know that early detection is key. Covid-19 has taken a lot, but it shouldn’t change how health and routine screenings are prioritized.

“If anything good is to come out of what I’ve gone through, I hope it’s that someone else is inspired to take action and take care of themselves, even when it’s difficult,” Julie said.

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