DETROIT (WWJ) – Woodward Avenue was lined with pink ribbons Saturday near Comerica Park as breast cancer survivors and their supporters participated in the 20th annual Susan G. Komen Detroit Race for the Cure.
WWJ’s Beth Fisher reports the walk raises more than two-million dollars for research. Many in the crowd, which was estimated at 40,000, stressed the need for women to get mammograms.
A breast cancer diagnosis is given around the globe every 69 seconds, in the U.S. every three minutes.
This year, almost 40,000 lives will be lost to breast cancer in the U.S. alone, and 1,300 of those lives will be from Michigan.
Maureen Meldrum, chair of the Komen Detroit Race for the Cure, said the event is about coming together with others who have been affected by the disease.
“Breast cancer is probably one of the scariest things there is for most women. And yet detected early enough, its highly survivable. No one wants to get breast cancer but one in eight women in her lifetime will get it. Here we are, in metropolitan Detroit… we are surrounded by some of the best care and some of the best research. Don’t let fear paralyze you,” Meldrum said.
The five-year survival rate for breast cancer, when detected early before it spreads beyond the breast, is now 98 percent. That is compared to 74 percent in 1982.
Meldrum said although their cause is serious, the event is meant to be fun.
“Walkers dress up, they wear signs, they remember their friends who are both living and those that we have lost. You see just the craziest people and the happiest people all for one cause, that we can end this disease one day,” Meldrum said.
In honor of reaching a 20 year milestone, a new feature of this year’s walk included a Memorial Site in the Tigers Club lobby where walkers can take a moment to add their personal message memorializing a family member or friend, lost to breast cancer. The community art piece will continue to grow over the years and will be featured at future walks to come.
For more Race Day information, visit www.karmanos.org.