Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Turned Fresno State Campus Pink. More than 6,600 runners and walkers joined together to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer.
Saturday’s race raised more than $372,500, with pledges still coming in, that the Central Valley Affiliate will award to community programs that promote breast health education and treatment in the Central Valley, as well as breast cancer research, “Even though our community has been hit hard by the economy, the thousands of people who joined the race today demonstrated that our community is passionate about finding the cure for breast cancer and supporting their loved ones who have faced this illness,” said Sharon Johnson, executive director of the Central Valley Affiliate of Komen for the Cure.
In addition to raising funds, participants celebrated with approximately 500 breast cancer survivors dressed in pink shirts and honored those who have lost their battle with the disease.
The event also included performances by local musicians, a timed 5-kilometer run and noncompetitive walk around the campus and a children’s carnival area. New at the 2009 Komen Race for the Cure, attendees not only fought breast cancer, but also hunger and filled bins around the race site with canned goods to benefit the Poverello House.
The Fresno State Athletic Department served as the 2009 Honorary Race Chair in recognition of their continued support of breast cancer awareness through programs such as their annual Pink Zone women’s basketball game and Volleyball Breast Cancer Awareness Night. Sue Behme, head coach for Fresno State’s women’s lacrosse team, represented the department and shared her personal inspiration to promote breast cancer awareness with Race participants, “We all know someone who has been touched by cancer who inspires us to fight this disease. Early detection is the key and it begins with education and knowledge,” said Behme. “Every woman should know their risk, listen to their body and have annual exams with their physician because that is the best defense against breast cancer.”
A minimum of 25% of the event proceeds support national ground breaking breast cancer research and up to 75% of the funds raised at the event remain in Fresno County to support local breast health education, breast cancer screening and treatment programs. Local grant recipients in 2009 include Association for Community Enhancement, Centro La Familia, Community Lymphedema Clinic, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Service Center, Fresno Health Consumer Center, Hinds Hospice, Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, Khmer Society of Fresno, and West Fresno Health Care Coalition.