A – Z Challenge ……. G is for

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GOAL   –     The goal:  to raise money for, and awareness of, breast cancer.   My mother is a breast cancer survivor so this cause is close to my heart.

On Saturday, I was one of about 40,000 who participated in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure  when I walked the 5km with two friends.     The mission of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is to “eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease by advancing research, education, screening, and treatment”.

Getting ready to head out with my number, my hat and my little backpack carrying water, my camera and ID.  The carriage of my train was totally empty except for me. It was 7.30am on a Saturday morning but still, that’s not *that* early! ……..  it is so alien to me to have such a choice in seats!  Downtown it was difficult to spot a tourist on the National Mall amongst the mass of people in pink-on-white t-shirts and various shades of pink shirts and pink accessories.

Founder of the Susan G. Komen organisation, Nancy Brinker, welcomed everyone and then Princess Margriet of the Netherlands and chairman of the Kennedy Center, David Rubenstein, talked about the importance of the fight against breast cancer.

The race started with 3,500 survivors moving off as Tim Halperin (American Idol) sang “We Fight Back”.   Then the  7,000 runners  were let out of their stalls on a different block so they didn’t knock over the walkers as we toddled off:   

People walked to honor a loved one lost to breast cancer:

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People walked to celebrate their survivorship wearing their inspirational survivor t-shirts: Or both at the same time as  in this lady’s case – what a rough time this family had.   Her sign reads:

  • In Memory of:
  • My great grandmother
  • Grandmother
  • Celebrate:
  • Mother
  • Me  

.

This gentleman hobbled along bravely on his prosthetic leg and the sight of  survivors approaching him to thank him for walking brought tears to my eyes.     .

Some walkers dressed up a bit :  .

And others kept the sun off in style:  .

First mile down …  a tortoise could almost do as well  We’d picked up the pace by the 2nd mile as the crowd spread out a bit more and it was easier to overtake people:    .

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1.3 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer annually worldwide and about 465,000 will die from the disease (that’s around 14% of all female cancer deaths).

We walked to the beat of drummers: .

In 2010 in the US – there were approximately 207,090  new cases of invasive breast cancer and  54,010 new cases of in-situ breast cancer.   There were 39,840 breast cancer deaths.

And we were waved on by encouraging signs along the way: .

In men breast cancer is rare, but it happens. In 2010, there were about 1,970 new cases of breast cancer  in males in the United States and  390 breast cancer deaths.

The water stations were doing a brisk trade – the temps were into the ’80’s by the time we finished and not a cloud in the sky: .

But we made it – in about 1 hour 25 mins  – not a fast walk but it was a lot of fun.

The biggest risk factors for breast cancer are being a woman and aging. Over 75% of women diagnosed are aged 50 or older.

So ladies, make it a goal of yours to check out your “girls”  monthly and encourage your friends to do so too:   

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24 responses

    • You can’t help but be overwhelmed when you see all these people united in a cause. Each year the number of survivors walking has increased – a marked difference between this year and when I first started doing this – 9 or 10 years ago – it’s really lovely to see.

  1. When I ran in its 2nd year (in STL anyway), I wore a tshirt with 88 names written in magic marker and added 2 (family members who were currently fighting) on my bib.

  2. Five years ago a classmate in grad school talked me into doing the Race for the Cure in Minneapolis: the problem was, she was running while I was walking, so we had to split up into different tracks. I felt somewhat abandoned at first, but the camaraderie of the women walking around me was so great I didn’t feel lonely at all. I ended up partying with a group of strangers at a shopping mall, the finish line for our “race.” I don’t think we had anything in common besides being female and knowing someone who had breast cancer, but I’ll never forget the warmth I felt that day. Kudos to you for walking! (And I hope the weather wasn’t too draining for you and your group!)

    • Yeah here the runners start in a different area but they seem to come around a block and then run basically the same course – just well infront of us amblers – actually they start 15 minutes before the walkers so most of them have probably finished before we start! 🙂 With 40,000 people it’s pretty hard to find people though – even with mobile phones. Two of us were waiting for our 3rd to catch up, telling her exactly where we were standing, talking constantly on the phone and then realised she’d walked right past us!

      There is an amazing camaraderie amongst the walkers; conversations just start up spontaneously between strangers. I love it.

  3. How does this raise money for the fight against breast cancer? Do you pay to participate in the event? Or do you sign up sponsors beforehand? I never have really understood how this kind of thing worked.

    • It was $40 to register to walk and then you can set a fundraising goal and seek sponsorship/donations from friends/family. The company I work for encourages a team entry and then matches our sponsorships/donations to a certain % (I’m not sure what it is).

  4. I’ll bet this was a bitter-sweet emotional experience for many. Congratulations _4327, and the photographs are wonderful and each one tells it’s own story.

    • Thank you GOF – it’s an amazing event to be part of . There are walkers from every spectrum you can imagine, all brought together for a common cause in the hope that we can make a difference to those statistics. It’s impossible not to be touched by the braveness of some of the walkers.

  5. Good for you Emjay! I’m actually reading this and looking at all the pics with tears in my eyes. My step-mom is currently battling breast cancer. Its really encouraging to see all that is being done to put an end to it.

    • Just seeing the sheer number of people prepared to show up, especially all those in survivor t-shirts affected me. But I really got teary seeing the man with his prosthetic leg, past the one mile mark and obviously struggling but still going on, being approached by survivors thanking and encouraging him! Best wishes to your step mother in her fight.

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