Racing for a Cure

June 05, 2008

A little over five years ago, I whispered to my godmother that she was going to be a great-godmother again. Other than my husband, she was the only one who knew about my pregnancy at the time, but she wasn’t going to be able to share the secret with anyone else. You see, I shared my good news with her during her funeral. After 10 hard-fought years, a full mastectomy, and countless rounds of chemotherapy, my godmother had lost her battle with breast cancer.

Ever since one of her sons got in trouble for kissing my eldest sister in kindergarten, “Aunt Alice” had been a fixture in my family. She became my mother’s best and most steadfast friend and godmother to me and my five sisters. Despite her illness, she brought the world to us through stories and pictures from her trips to Jerusalem, Rome, Greece, Egypt, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. She became a teacher later in life, and the (literally) hundreds of pictures of family, friends, former students, and their families throughout her home were a testament to the way she lived and touched everyone she came into contact with.

This Saturday, June 7, I will celebrate her life by participating in the Susan G. Komen National Race for the Cure in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders team. Staff members and many NCCWSL conference attendees will participate in this important event to raise funds for breast cancer research, education, screening, and treatment.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures 2008 estimates that there will be more than 182,460 new cases of invasive breast cancer and more than 40,480 deaths from breast cancer in women this year alone. Excluding skin cancers, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among African American women. Yearly screenings and early detection are critical to lowering the risk of dying from the disease.

While my godmother lost her battle with breast cancer, thousands of others will have a greater chance of survival through outreach, awareness programs, low-cost and free mammograms, and other services funded in part by monies raised during the Race for the Cure.

Ladies, be sure and get your yearly exam (I DID), and make sure your mothers, daughters, nieces, granddaughters, and other family members and friends do the same. Together we can save lives!

NCCWSL Participants at the National Race for the Cure, June 7, 2008.

Avatar By:   |   June 05, 2008


  1. Avatar clarkp says:

    juliarr, I’ll have to admit that I was a walker during Saturday’s event…but a fast one. 😉 Despite the oppressive heat in D.C. on Saturday, over 50,000 people participated and raised over $4.9 million.

    Congrats on running for such a great cause and good luck!

  2. Avatar juliarr says:

    This is a wonderful to honor your god-mother. I am having my baseline mammogram in July and will be running (for the first time in my LIFE) in the Race in September. Have a wonderful time and continue to spread the word so we can ensure a safe future for our daughter’s breasts :).


  3. Avatar clarkp says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Sandy. A complete list of other Komen events may be found at

  4. Avatar Sandy Kirkpatrick says:

    Participating in one of the Susan G. Komen Foundation events is an amazing and inspiring experience. I’ve walked in the Race for the Cure and the Breast Cancer 3-day walk (60 miles in 3 days), and will do so again in San Francisco this September. Raising money for this foundation helps move important breast cancer research forward. My cousin is a survivor, and when she was diagnosed, she said the Komen Foundation was a pivotal source of information and support, and she benefitted from new treatments that came about from Komen Foundation-funded research.

    But these events are more than fundraising, as important as that is. It’s about gathering people together to raise awareness, and supporting those who are fighting for their lives. So if any of you out there haven’t been to a Komen Foundation Race for the Cure or the Breast Cancer 3-Day event (, find one near you. If you can’t be a walker, be a volunteer to help out at the event. You won’t regret it!

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