Race #49: The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5K
The Cause: Education and research focused on breast cancer; also honoring the memories of loved ones and/or celebrating survivorship, through Susan G. Komen, Greater PA Chapter
I truly believe my husband saved my life. Nearly 20 years ago, he felt a lump in one of my breasts. For several weeks, until I could see my doctor, I felt the presence of a black cloud hanging over my head. I tried to stay positive, but I honestly wondered if I’d have the chance to see my three young children grow up. I didn’t want to end up as another breast cancer statistic. I felt powerless, out of control, of my own body.
But I was lucky. The lump was benign, but suspicious enough that my doctor scheduled and performed a lumpectomy (surgery to remove the lump). I’ve had regular mammograms ever since—since my 30s—and everything has been fine. I feel like I dodged a bullet—thanks to my husband.
I had a second similar scare with another type of cancer, a few years ago. And that’s why a number of my 50 races have focused on cancer-related charities.
In terms of breast cancer, great strides have been made over the years. There’s more awareness and information—about breast exams and mammograms, for example—and research.
Susan G. Komen is the biggest organization dedicated to breast cancer in the U.S. And the nonprofit is credited with “bringing breast cancer out of the shadows.” Between 1989 and 2016, the breast cancer mortality rate has decreased by 40%. Still, more than 40,000 Americans die of breast cancer every year.
To date, Susan G. Komen has invested more than $2.9 billion in groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 60 countries. That includes more than $988 million in research since 1982.
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5Ks are held around the country every year. I registered for the Pittsburgh edition, held annually on Mother’s Day. It was going to be the perfect event for a weekend visit with our son, attending college there. And it would have been my first race experience in Pittsburgh. But, COVID-19 intervened. I’m so sad that these plans fell through.
The rescheduled virtual race is actually set for September 13, but that is four days after my birthday. I wanted to run my Race for the Cure while I was still 50, so I could count it among my 50 races. So I laced up and ran my neighborhood 5K route over Labor Day weekend instead.
Every year one million people run or walk in Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5Ks held across the country. That is one statistic I’m excited and proud to be part of.