One of Downtown Toledo’s staple events is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, happening every year in September to support breast cancer research.
For the 30th anniversary this year, the race took place on Saturday, Sept. 23 instead of its usual Sunday morning slot. Sure enough, though, by 9 am race supporters gathered to run and walk for a good cause.
“We always lead with mission, so we’re so lucky that for 30 years this community has supported our mission in not only attending and registering but our sponsors, volunteers, committee, board members and the Komen network,” Gretchen Awad, Northwest Ohio Komen’s executive director, said. “Thirty years we’ve been supporting this mission – 30 years we’ve been serving breast cancer patients and their needs and research. We’re gonna keep coming back here every year if this community will support us because there’s more work to be done and we will keep working.”
This year, the race was in celebration of Linda Palenske, a woman who survived breast cancer and is celebrating her 10th year of being cancer-free in 2023. The race was also in memory of Kaylene Y. Kramer, a teacher who fought an eight year battle with breast cancer before passing away in 2020.
Emceeing the race was Chrys Peterson, whose presence at Komen events has become a staple to community supporters.
“It’s amazing to think about how 30 years ago we had our very first race, and what it has become now – all the millions of dollars that we’ve raised in Northwest Ohio,” Peterson, the race’s honorary chairperson, said. “People keep coming out year after year after year and they bring friends. I always tell people if you come to one Race for the Cure event you will never miss another one because it’s so inspiring and it leaves you with such an awesome feeling at the end of the day.”
This year, the goal was to raise $147,500 for breast cancer support. Komen representatives from Northwest Ohio are still working on the total tally for the year.
Many participants of the race find it impacts them heavily, be it from remembering a loved one who passed away or celebrating someone close to you who survived. However, even if you don’t personally know someone impacted by breast cancer, you still walk away from the event having heard stories from those who have been impacted by breast cancer and feeling proud to participate in fighting for the cure.
“I think next to my 26 year marriage and my 23 year old daughter, it is probably the most impactful thing I’ve done in my life,” Peterson said.
For updated fundraising and Northwest Ohio Komen information, visit https://secure.info-komen.org/site/TR/RacefortheCure/RaceforTheCure?pg=entry&fr_id=9852.