So the 28th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was held September 9, 2017 at the Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C. Funds from the event fuel breast cancer research, advocacy, and celebrates breast cancer survivors and honors those who lost their battle with the disease. Racers (unlike myself) had the option to run the competitive 5k competition, a 5k recreational run/walk and a one-mile family fun walk.
Susan G. Komen is synonymous with hope, perseverance, and progress within the breast cancer field. To outsiders who have never donated or participated in the race, one would assume you just donate some cash or run a hefty 5k to raise awareness. For a first-timer, I realize there’s more to being a part of the race for the cure. I was tasked to blog about my experience as well as work closely with the CityPeek team, who were also headlining sponsors this year. Misko Kim Media and PIXofDC also worked with the CityPeek Team too.
I have never participated in a 5k before so I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I had to wake up by 4:30 a.m. and get to the premise by 7:00 a.m to help set up the CityPeek booth. I did make a pitstop at Mcdonalds to get my pumpkin latte fix on and to pick up my friend Jess from her ultra swanky apartment in the city. She’s just walking distance from Center Stage, so lucky!
Jess and I arrived to Freedom Plaza at a respectable time and parked on the Russia floor at this federal government, tightly secured garage. A scattering of pink-clad ladies were parked near us and instantaneously, I felt a sense of commonality with these ladies. We were all here to fight a common cause, together, in our pink running garb.
As we walked in, we were welcomed by Meejee kim from Misko Kim Media and by PIXofDC photographers who were assigned to capture candid shots of those running the race. The vendors present at the scene were Dunkin Donuts, Giant Foods, Wegmans, a henna artist, and various other supporters. I’ve never worked with a famous vlogger before so it was great privilege to work with Misko Kim Media when she vlogged her entire 5k run. I jogged a bit of the 5K but walked the rest of the way. Along the way, I was welcomed to familiar D.C sights such as the monument, White House, Smithsonian, and various other landmarks. The air was thick with Autumn smells, feels, and sights, and that enticed me to truly enjoy the moment.
My heart felt for all the survivors at this race. Many were wearing “survivor” t-shirts, had freshly bald heads, and a fearless expression. These ladies (and gents) are our courageous warriors who have fought a terrifying war and came back, emboldened. For those who lost the war, families wore colorful images of these warriors on their pink clad shirts. As a 5K walker, I had the privilege to cheer on all the runners who raced past as in a blur of pepto pink. Their win was our win.
The closest I have ever participated to a cancer walk, prior, was in High School. I was the team captain for Relay for Life in 2005 and our group was able to raise over $500 in a short span of time. We pretty much camped outside but I still remember fond memories of listening to survivors, eating a greasy breakfast, and with failing miserably at a karaoke competition as the second worst singer.
Back to present day! Race for the Cure has truly made a large dent in enhancing breast cancer awareness, world-wide. This foundation donates 75 percent of funds to stay in communities to help fund local programs offering breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment. The remaining 25 percent goes toward Susan G, Komen research and training grants programs (link to website).
With every step I took, the realization smacked me hard, after the second mile, that this was a grander movement than what I knew prior. When I reached the finish line, I found MeeJee (Misko Kim Media) and was overjoyed. In the beginning of the walk, MeeJee was compelled to run the race after walking the first mile. So I sang to her, “You can go your own way.” (in the best Stevie Nicks voice I could muster) and she jetted right past me, out of my sight and straight to the finish line.
Nick Bowie, from PIXofDC, took an amazing shot of us strutting the finish line together, arm in arm. I can finally cross of my bucket list that I participated in a 5k. Finally!
And I can happily say that I walked for a wonderful cause.