60,000 set to run in race for the cure

Participants at the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation National Race for the Cure® were among the first to view a new breast cancer ribbon today as they descended on the National Mall. More than 51,000 runners and walkers, more than including 3,500 breast cancer survivors, participated in the 15th annual 5K event to raise money for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs. Early estimates indicate more than $2 million was raised today to support the fight against breast cancer.

The Komen National Race for the Cure® drew participants from across the country and around the world. During pre-Race ceremonies, Komen Foundation President and CEO Susan Braun was joined by Foundation Board Member and breast cancer survivor Karen Rivera to unveil the new Co-Survivor program to the crowd. The Co-Survivor program, and its new interlocking pink and white ribbon, represents the special relationship between people who have fought breast cancer and those who supported them along the way.

"The new Co-Survivor ribbon is building on the strength of the pink breast cancer ribbon, a universal symbol of breast cancer awareness and survivorship," Braun said. "Breast cancer survivors inspire us and fuel our efforts - honoring them has been a priority of the Komen Foundation for more than 20 years. Today, we continue in that strong tradition by recognizing Co- Survivors, and giving breast cancer survivors a chance to thank those they love and depend on most."

This year's event kicked off with the traditional Parade of Pink to celebrate and recognize those who have fought breast cancer as well as remember those who have passed. Honorary Breast Cancer Survivor Chair, Congresswoman Sue Myrick, and Telemundo television star and breast cancer survivor, Ana Maria Polo, led the Parade. Other dignitaries at the event included Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Mayor Anthony Williams and CBS Early Show Anchor Rene Syler.

A minimum of $1 million of the funds raised through the Komen National Race will remain in the Washington, D.C., community - including Virginia and Maryland - to fund outreach programs and initiatives that address the specific unmet breast health needs of the area. Washington, D.C., has the highest breast cancer mortality rate in the U.S.

Registering for the Komen National Race offers residents a chance to make a direct impact on breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment in the community. Net income from the 2003 Komen National Race for the Cure® funded 19 grants for programs at local institutions and organizations

"This year, with the help of funds from the Komen National Race for the Cure®, we can provide more than 400 medical screenings to underserved men and women in the metropolitan area," said Jacqueline Torres, La Clinica del Pueblo. La Clinica del Pueblo, a 2003 grant recipient, provides free, culturally sensitive medical and health services in the local Latin community and is just one example of how the Komen National Race is helping create a healthier community in Washington, D.C.

The remaining net proceeds support cutting-edge breast cancer research through the Komen Foundation Award and Research Grant Program, with a number of grantees in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. This year, the program awarded more than $32 million in grants to support these and other important breast cancer research projects.

The Komen National Race for the Cure® has grown significantly each year from 7,000 registered participants in 1990 to more than 60,000 in 2003. This year, the Komen Foundation celebrates the 15th Anniversary of the Komen National Race, one of more than 100 5K runs/fitness walks in its signature program, the Komen Race for the Cure® Series. The largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world, the Komen Race Series raises significant funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer, celebrating breast cancer survivorship and honoring those who lost their battle with the disease.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established more than 20 years ago by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer at the age of 36. Today, the Komen Foundation is an international, grassroots organization with more than 100 Affiliates in the United States, as well as in Germany, Italy and Puerto Rico. The Komen Foundation invests more than $96 million dollars annually to support its mission, primarily through its annual Komen Race for the Cure® Series, making it the nation's largest private funding source for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs.

The latest information about the 2004 Komen National Race for the Cure® can be found by calling (703) 848-8884 or visiting http://www.nationalraceforthecure.org. For information about breast health or breast cancer, visit the Komen Foundation's Web site, http://www.komen.org, or call its National Toll-Free Breast Care Helpline, 1.800 I'M AWARE® (1.800.462.9273).


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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