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June 11, 2009

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Michael Kurtianyk

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure


Michael Kurtianyk


            On Saturday, June 6th, my wife Brenda joined nearly 45,000 other participants in the 20th Annual Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure. She left at 6 A.M. and joined others from our neighborhood and car pooled all the way to DC.


I stayed behind so that I could take our daughters later. After a quick stop at a local Dunkin’ Donuts, the girls and I were able to catch up with everyone just as they completed the 5K run.


            Upon arrival, we were treated to a sea of pink: pink ribbons, pink scarves, pink capes, pink t-shirts, and the like. The event, held in and around the Mall, was blessed to have a dry, overcast day – not too hot, not too cold. We caught up with the group near one of the tents where people could purchase items to help raise money for the cause. You could find anything from CDs to Teddy Bears to blankets and clothes. There were a good number of major sponsors there, like Ford, Yoplait, Bank of America, New Balance, and Coldwater Creek. It was great seeing them there taking time out to support a great cause.


            To kick off the ceremonies, Dr. Jill Biden, a long-time advocate for breast health education and wife of Vice President Joe Biden, thanked everyone for participating. Brenda said that later, Ambassador Nancy G. Brinker, who founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure more then 27 years ago as a promise to her sister Suzy, was very inspirational.


She asked that the participants become advocates for finding a cure for breast cancer. Ambassador Brinker said that if a cure is not found, then approximately 11 million people will die from this disease in the next 25 years. Her sister Susan died of breast cancer at the age of 36, and the cause was founded in her honor.


According to the web site, Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became “Susan G. Komen for the Cure,” and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures.


One of the highlights of the program was when the Pink Panther started the Race. After the Race began, the Pink Panther spent the remainder of the morning with Kids for the Cure, Komen’s special Race day program for children ages 5-12. It’s likely that one or both of my daughters will participate in the Kids for the Cure race next year.


            It was later reported on the news that despite the nation’s worsening economy, the event raised $4.3 million to fund breast cancer programs for the medically underserved throughout the National Capital Area and abroad. What makes this race so important for us locally is that up to 75 percent of Race revenue will stay in the D.C. area to address breast cancer disparities for the medically underserved.


Because of the funds raised by this event,the foundation was able to invest $3.7 million to fund community health initiatives that address unmet breast health needs in the Washington area, which includes parts of Virginia and Maryland. The remaining 25 percent will go to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Global Promise Fund, which addresses breast cancer incidence and mortality outside the United States with culturally sensitive education and outreach programs.

            It was amazing to see so many people in one place from all over the world, all united for a single cause. I am proud of my wife and our neighbors for taking the time fromt from their busy schedules to participate in this event.

The 2010 Komen Global Race will take place on Saturday, June 5, 2010. I hope to see you there.

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