Thousands join Komen race in new location

Race for the Cure runners jog down Conley Avenue in Columbia Saturday morning. Organizers say some teams raised more than $5,000 this year.

Saturdayâ??s showers cleared just in time for more than 2,300 participants to set out in this yearâ??s Race for the Cure.

This year marked the first time festivities were located in and around Peace Park. The 5-kilometer route ran through downtown and the MU campus before finishing back at the park.

Runners and walkers of all ages participated, many of them with family or friends who had breast cancer. April Brown told KRCG 13 she and a friend formed a team after her friendâ??s co-worker died of breast cancer. She said she had never run in a Race for the Cure before and was excited to do it again next year. Wanda Jesse, who was running on the same team, said everyoneâ??s dedication was an inspiration. Jesse herself had cancer surgery when she was 27.

Some 160 runners alone represented the Barking Butterfly Bakery, a dog treat shop in Monroe County that donates all proceeds to cancer causes including Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Kendall Mason said she and her friends named the bakery after her grandmotherâ??s love of pets and butterflies. The bakery is an affiliate of the Monroe County Cancer Supporters. John Turner, a member of the group, told KRCG 13 Monroe County is not currently covered by any Komen chapters, something his group wants to change. He said Komenâ??s mid-Missouri chapter is in the process of adding Monroe County to its coverage area.

Breast cancer survivors said they were tremendously encouraged by the show of support. Amy Lannin said events like this give her hope.

â??I had a friend one time ask me if it bothered me, all the pink and all the ribbons,â?? she said. â??And I said, no. If anything, it makes you feel like youâ??re not in this alone.â??

Lannin said the timing of this yearâ??s race was especially personal for her because it marked four years since she was diagnosed.

Sandy Oliver just finished her last round of chemotherapy last month and thus rode the route in a golf cart rather than walking it. She said seeing all the support was very emotional for her.

â??It was truly a blessing to be here,â?? Oliver said.

Oliver said early detection allowed her to stop the cancer from spreading right away and urged other women to get screened. She said she does not have health insurance, so she had an inexpensive screening at the Randolph County Health Department, which resulted in a radiology referral.

â??Fifteen dollars saved my life,â?? she said.

Organizers say this yearâ??s turnout was down slightly from last year and attributed most of that to the change in location. Spokesperson Carrie Schlimme said the new venue worked out very well and organizers were excited to use the city streets.

Schlimme said organizers say they will not have final figures on how much money was raised until November, though she added some teams have already raised more than $5,000.