Komen Race for the Cure® Raises Breast Cancer Awareness, Record Revenues
When the crowd of more than 30,000 participants descends upon Comerica Park for the 18th annual Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure® on Saturday, May 30, they won’t just be raising awareness of breast cancer and celebrating survivorship. They’ll also be raising much needed funds to support local breast cancer education and screening programs.
Thanks to record revenues raised at last year’s event, the race awarded $1.58 million in grants to support programs targeting the underserved residents in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. Additionally, nearly $700,000 supports Komen for the Cure’s research grant programs, funding scientists around the world including several Karmanos breast cancer researchers. “In total, the race has awarded more than $13 million in grants since its inception in 1992,” says Maureen Meldrum, race chair and director of Breast Cancer Special Programs at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
“Although breast cancer is a terrible disease, it’s also highly survivable when caught early,” Meldrum says. “The majority of the funds granted to local programs support early diagnosis efforts. The grants are awarded through a competitive process – we want to do as much as we can to support local endeavors that don’t replicate existing programs but instead fill the gaps in terms of providing education, treatment support and screening. Because of the challenging economy, there are a lot of gaps to be filled.”
Meldrum says the event is particularly uplifting to patients who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Last year we had 1,600 attendees who acknowledged themselves as breast cancer survivors,” she says. “For someone newly diagnosed or a family member who is worried about a loved one, it’s very inspiring to see all those survivors wearing pink and know that the funds being raised are helping save lives.”
One person who shares these feelings is Katrina Studvent, a 32-year-old University of Michigan student studying social work. Karmanos doctors diagnosed her with stage III breast cancer at age 30. She immediately had a mastectomy and underwent surgical removal of her lymph nodes. She’s currently in remission after completing aggressive chemotherapy and has shared her cancer-fighting experiences as a volunteer at the past two Komen Race events.
“Attending the race for the first time helped me feel triumphant in my fight against cancer,” Studvent says. “It was like an outward expression of what I was going through internally. Battling cancer is a journey that can be frightening, but it can also end in victory. I feel stronger today and know I’m accomplishing more with my life. A large part of that is due to my participation as a Komen Race volunteer. It was inevitable that I would take a stand for others who are going through the same struggles I encountered in my fight against cancer.”
The Karmanos Cancer Institute is the Local Presenting Sponsor of the Race. For information on how to register, volunteer or make a donation for the 2009 Komen Detroit Race for the Cure®, visit www.karmanoscancer.org/komendetroit