Breast cancer awareness took center stage in Lansing on Sunday, April 24, as thousands of people gathered for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Runners, walkers and enthusiastic supporters of the cause came to Adado Riverfront Park dressed from head to toe in pink to raise money for breast cancer programs and research.
One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, making it the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in women. Susan G. Komen Michigan’s mission is to save lives and end breast cancer forever. As one of their biggest events, The Race for the Cure helps them continue to work toward achieving this goal.
The park was buzzing with excitement as Komen Michigan Executive Director Jennifer Jurgens took the stage, followed closely by Michigan’s First Lady, Sue Snyder. Both breast cancer survivors shared heartfelt stories about their personal journeys with the disease and spoke about the programs that Susan G. Komen provides to women battling breast cancer in Michigan.
“We’re here today to race for the cures,” said Jurgens. “And we’re going to keep racing until we win.”
Also speaking at the event was survivor Jennifer Nelson, whose story of survival and self-discovery after being diagnosed inspired all who were in attendance.
Nelson was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in 2013 that could have easily brought many people to their knees, but with the support of her doctors, friends, family and Komen Michigan, she was able to stay positive throughout her fight and eventually beat the disease. In her speech, she urged women to get checked regularly.
“One thing that I really took away from this is how important it is to know yourself,” said Nelson. “If you think something feels wrong, trust yourself. It could save your life.”
Once the speakers had finished, runners and walkers made their way to the starting line to prepare for the race. Right before the runners took off, Jurgens left them with a few inspirational words.
“We don’t race for trophies, we race against time,” said Jurgens. “We don’t race to be first, we race to make sure that there’s a last.”
This weekend’s event raised more than $50,000 for Komen Michigan. According to Jurgens, 75 percent of that money will stay in the community to help women fighting breast cancer and the other 25 percent will go to cancer research.
For more information about Susan G. Komen Michigan, visit komenmichigan.org.