Sylva’s third annual Walk for Hope was held Saturday to spread awareness of breast cancer and to emphasize the importance of early detection.

A pink police car covered with signatures of breast cancer survivors was parked near the courthouse fountain, which was dyed the same color.

Police Chief Chris Hatton and Assistant Chief Rick Bryson led about 50 people down West Main Street from the fountain before mingling with the crowd.

“Walk for Hope is all about this, the people who still have cancer, who are getting treatments and who have been cancer-free for years,” Hatton said.

Lynda Sossamon, Sylva mayor and 14-year breast cancer survivor, spoke at the event.

“I want to celebrate all the survivors that are here today, and I also hold in my heart the memory of those who did not survive,” Sossamon said.

The American Cancer Society says that the death rate from female breast cancer dropped 40 percent from 1989 to 2016. This is believed to be a result of earlier detection. One method of finding breast cancer early is mammography.

“That’s how my breast cancer was found,” Sossamon said. “With a routine mammogram.”

“Please, get your mammogram,” Nurse Navigator Carol Van Cleve said. “If you think you have a problem, call me.”

“Don’t put it off, just do it,” Sossamon said.