Race for the Cure Comes to Athens for the Third Year< < Back to
People were decked out in pink, walking the streets of Athens for the third-annual Athens Race for the Cure. They wore tattoos, tutus, and capes, but for most at the race, it was about much more than what they were wearing.
Katie Carter, executive director at Komen Columbus, said 365 women in Southeast Ohio will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 71 of those diagnosis will result in death. Southeast Ohio has a screening rate lower than the national average and Athens specifically has the highest breast cancer death rate in the nation. Carter said the high death rate is due to a lack of funds, facilities, and healthcare access for the uninsured.
In an effort to combat those numbers, companies such as Ohio Health and James Cancer Center attended the race to donate money and raise awareness for the cause.
Many raced in memory, or in celebration of loved ones such as Team Cinderella, Wanda’s Warriors, Team Bad Jackie, Morgan’s Monkeys, and Team Tammy. Team Tammy was racing in memory of Yvette Young-Epling’s friend, who died two years ago. She worked for 20 years in the engineering department at Ohio University and was a singer in a band.
“Last time I saw Tammy we were celebrating her 40th,” Young-Epling said. “We had a huge yard party, big fun, props, photo props, the whole nine yards – she was just a really fun, full-of-life girl, and a mom.”
The race is also about celebrating the lives of those who survived the fight. Susan Goldsmith was diagnosed with advanced stage-three breast cancer in 2012. She went through several rounds of chemotherapy, multiple breast surgeries, and eight weeks of radiation. She is now a five-year survivor and walks with her daughter among the sea of pink.
Goldsmith said she likes the intimacy of the race. It feels like family to her, especially when she sees other survivors.
“When you see other people in pink, wearing a survivor shirt, you have this special bond even though you don’t know them personally,” she said.
Walking in the race holds a special place in Goldsmith’s heart and it reminds her of how strong she had to be to overcome that challenge in her life.
Komen Columbus partnered with the Ohio University’s School of Nursing to put on the inaugural Athens Race for the Cure in October 2015. Every year the race raises money to help those affected by breast cancer. This year, just over $26,000 was raised.