By Nathaly Cruz
San Antonio’s 20th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure took place this past Saturday, April 8 at the Alamodome.
With this year’s theme being “Year of the Champions,” over 15,000 people participated and helped raise $1,229,190.
The race is held every year to celebrate breast cancer survivors and in remembrance of all those who have lost the battle against cancer.
Nancy Komen founded Susan G. Komen in 1982 as a promise for her sister who died from breast cancer.
Susan G. Komen San Antonio started in 1997 by a group of local survivors and has invested more than $18.2 million in local uninsured and under-insured patients who need access to breast cancer healthcare.
In the past 20 years, the organization has grown significantly according to Niki Simpson, executive director of Susan G. Komen San Antonio. “In the first race we had 1,800 people, and they raised $50,000. And last year, we had over 15,000 people, and we raised over $1 million. In those 20 years it just shows that the community has embraced us because this is for the community. All the money that we raise stays here.”
One hundred percent of the donations given to Susan G. Komen San Antonio help the local community with recourses to fight the disease, as well as support local patients with breast cancer services including screenings, treatment assistance, education and pain relief services.
“We have invested $18.2 million in this community because of Race for the Cure. This funds us for the year, and in the past year, we were able to fund 15,261 services because of the race,” added Simpson. “It is a day of celebration, remembrance and hope. We are here 365 days a year trying to help women with the services they need. It’s our 20th anniversary, and we are very proud of that.”
This year’s theme “Year of the Champions” perfectly described the amazing survivor stories of women who have won the battle against cancer or are currently fighting.
Ruth Chap was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and is currently six years in remission. “It was a long and rough journey, you have to stay really positive, and it is a mental game. You have to make a choice if whether you are going to live or you are going to fight.” Chap chose to live because of the love that she has for her family.
Yolanda Richards has been participating in Race for the Cure for 10 years now, and she never imagined that one day she would be the one with cancer. She was diagnosed in November of 2016 and is still undergoing chemotherapy. For her, it has been traumatic and a positive experience at the same time.
“I advise other women to get a breast exam every year like I did, and to be positive and strong. Enjoy life; every day is like Christmas day or Mother’s day. When you wake up, thank God for the day and just enjoy life,” she said.
Susan G. Komen’s mission is to save lives and invest in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer. According to research, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Hispanic/Latinas in the United States. This year, an average of 1,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in Bexar County and nearly 200 will lose their lives.
For more information on breast cancer resources available in San Antonio, please contact Susan G. Komen San Antonio at 210-222-9009 or visit www.komensanantonio.org.