The chill of autumn and gusts of cold wind Saturday didn’t deter runners as they made their way across Mickey Mantle Drive in Bricktown for Oklahoma City’s 19th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
“It beats having cancer,” Cami Boggs, daughter of breast cancer survivor Peggy Uglean said about running in the cold.
In more ways than one, the race helps to beat the disease.
Lorna Palmer, executive director of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure affiliate in Central and Western Oklahoma, said this year’s race participants, sponsors, and volunteers helped to raise a million dollars.
All of the funds will go toward promoting local and national breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs.
Palmer said 75 percent of the funds will stay in Oklahoma while 25 percent will go toward national efforts to fight breast cancer.
“I want to eradicate this disease,” said Palmer, who has been executive director for 10 years. “I’ve met some pretty amazing women, and I want to make sure that I see them for as long as I’m here.”
The race started at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and ended before 11 a.m. Palmer said this year’s race had about 20,000 participants.
Peggy Uglean’s children and their spouses huddled in the bleachers at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark as Uglean stood with fellow survivors during the race’s closing ceremony. The crowd of pink-clad spectators greeted them with a standing ovation.
“You are survivors. You represent hope and courage,” Palmer said to them.
A pink limousine carried those survivors who couldn’t run through the race.
For many runners, the loved ones they fight for live only in memories.
Patrina Walter, an optometrist, lost her brother-in-law to breast cancer two weeks ago. Silvester James was diagnosed two years ago and was 54 years old when he died.
“As a man, when you have chest pain you don’t wonder if it could be breast cancer. You think maybe its heart related or something else. But not breast cancer,” Walter said.
Walter said James’ family did not have a history of breast cancer.
“Watching him go through it was pretty devastating,” she said.
According to the American Cancer Society an estimated 39,902 breast cancer deaths are expected in 2012 — 39,510 women and 410 men.
The American Cancer Society also estimates 2,630 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 in Oklahoma.
According to the society’s website, breast cancer ranks second in types of cancers to kill women each year in the United States.
Joey Shirey and her two older brothers, Mac and Jason Baker, spoke after the race about friends they knew who had been affected by breast cancer.
When asked what brought them to participate Saturday, the three rolled up their sleeves to reveal matching pink ribbon tattoos.
“I got mine yesterday,” Shirey said of her tattoo, which differs from her brother’s. Hers displays the word ‘hope’ over a pink ribbon.
“That’s why we’re here. That’s what this is about,” she said.