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Cross-country races for a cure

Photo by Lisa Johansen

Chrissy Field transformed into a sea of pink on Sunday as thousands of runners, walkers and cancer survivors gathered for the 15th annual Komen Race for the Cure.

Sixteen members of the Mills cross-country team ran the race along with 5,000 others. This was the seventh year the cross-country team participated in the event.

The race consists of a 3-mile run or a 1-mile walk around Chrissy Field in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sponsors sold t-shirts and took donations at the event.

"I absolutely love that our team does this every year. We're a women's college, and I think it's important that we support causes that affect women," said junior Jordan Trew, a member of the cross-country team.

The Komen Race for the Cure is put on annually by the Susan G. Komen foundation to raise money for and increase awareness of breast cancer. In 1980, when Susan G. Komen died of breast cancer at age 36, her sister Nancy G. Brinker promised that she would dedicate her life to increasing breast cancer awareness and research. Brinker established the foundation in 1982 and since then has raised over $750 million for breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment, according to

Many racers had memorials to loved ones taped to their person; one woman had pink angel's wings with a memorial to a friend who died of breast cancer. Other women and men organized groups to run together and honor friends and family members. One group, called "Libby's Ladies," ran for the memory of their friend Libby who died of breast cancer.

"Of the bigger sports events this is one of the real grassroots ones, and I think that makes a difference, it hits closer to home for people," said volunteer Sue Hatner, a breast cancer survivor.

Although most racers and attendees were women, many men came out to support wives, sisters, mothers and friends who survived or lost their battle against breast cancer.

"I like hanging out with women who are concerned about their health," said volunteer George Tsacanas.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society, accounting for one in three diagnoses. The ACS predicts that there will be 58,490 women diagnosed and 40,410 deaths this year alone. According to, the mortality rate could be decreased by 30 percent if every woman who needed a mammogram got one.

The Komen Foundation works primarily to increase breast cancer awareness and raise money to help educate and treat women. In association with other breast cancer foundations, the Komen Foundation puts on over 20 events every year. The events include fashion shows, wine tasting, breast cancer awareness month, the breast cancer three day race and the Pink Tie Ball. For more information on the Susan G. Komen Foundation or breast cancer, visit