IN THE PINK: 5K run for cancer relief proceeds despite flood

By Sabine Martin

On the rainy morning of Saturday, Oct. 1, over 900 people walked and ran to support breast cancer survivors and patients. After several course relocations due to flooding, the 10th Annual Pink Ribbon 5k proceeded with record breaking attendance.

Each cancer survivor that participated wore pink strands of beads during the race signifying how many years they have survived and beaten cancer.

“For the new survivors who have one strand of beads, they might see someone with 24 strands of beads, so that’s hope. For a new survivor, it’s like a sisterhood you didn’t even know you had” said Gabbi Dewitt, a Beyond Pink committee member.

Dewitt grew into the position of being one of the organizers of the Pink Ribbon Run starting at the water stations for the race.

“It’s so sweet the way it is. It’s a community race, you get to see people you know,” Dewitt said.

In 2015, 82 cancer survivors participated. This year’s Pink Ribbon Run exceeded their goal of 100 as 110 cancer survivors participated.

Stacy Glascock, one recent breast cancer survivor and participant, wore one strand of beads and walked with her husband Dan. She is a mother of two Cedar Falls students: Alex, a 10th grader, and Abby, who is in sixth grade.

Glascock has gone through a lot to before she was able to participate in this year’s Pink Ribbon Run. She was diagnosed in September of 2015 after a routine mammogram, and had a bilateral mastectomy shortly after. She then started chemotherapy, but experienced some  complications: first, a collapsed lung, then a blood clot and hemorrhaging. Emergency surgery was required to stop the bleeding.

After she was finished with chemotherapy, Glascock endured weeks of radiation therapy, amounting to 33 treatments total.

“The effects of the radiation were serious. The therapy burned her skin badly, causing it to peel off,” she said.

Glascock also had additional surgeries to eliminate any hormones that might make cancer grow. Though she has beaten cancer, Glascock now has to take a pill for the next 10 years to reduce the chance of cancer recurrence.

This was technically not Glascock’s first Pink Ribbon Run. In 2015, she went to cheer on friends as they raced.

“I was only a few weeks out from my double mastectomy and would not be walking in it.  I remember it was very chilly out and I was still in much pain. I was introduced to many women who had gone through cancer treatment, who encouraged and supported me there,” she said. “When it was time to take the picture of the ‘survivors,’ they asked me to join them, and I just couldn’t.  I stood there with tears welling up in my eyes because I didn’t feel I deserved to be in that picture.  I hadn’t really survived yet.”

The Pink Ribbon Run was created not only to celebrate survivors, but also to help current patients and future survivors. All of the proceeds go to the Beyond Pink TEAM Breast Cancer Coalition.

“It is to raise money for people who have extra costs that are associated with their cancer diagnosis like travel to doctor appointments, if they can’t work we help pay their rent, child care,” Dewitt said. “We try to help cover practical expenses that insurance can’t cover.”

As someone who has been through the trials and tribulations of breast cancer, Glascock said she appreciates that other women can get help from the proceeds of the Pink Ribbon Run event through the Beyond Pink TEAM. “It’s great knowing the community is so supportive of raising money to help people who are in need of financial assistance during their treatment,” she said.

For many women who have gone through breast cancer, finding a positive support system is important. “Since the statistics show that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime. It means that more and more of us are impacted by this horrible disease,” Glascock said.

For Glascock and the other 900 participants, the Pink Ribbon Run/Walk and the Beyond Pink TEAM represent a welcoming supportive community.

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