Race for the Cure draws thou­sands

An­nual event in Hunt Val­ley raises money for breast can­cer re­search

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Tim Pru­dente tpru­dente@balt­sun.com

Sis­ters Lisa Sorensen, An­drea Weisen­thal and Jill Frey, from left, hold lighted can­dles to re­mem­ber their sis­ter Judy Da­vanzo, who died from breast can­cer in April. The sis­ters were among the thou­sands of par­tic­i­pants and spectators at the 24th An­nual Su­san G. Komen Mary­land Race for the Cure in Hunt Val­ley Sun­day.

They walked in pink tu­tus, in pink Su­per­man capes, and lean­ing on pink canes.

They walked for moth­ers, sis­ters and wives who died of breast can­cer, or who en­dure the dis­ease to­day. Some women walked for them­selves.

They walked Sun­day in Hunt Val­ley as the sun rose and chill eased, say­ing it wasn’t as cold or wet as in years past.

They walked, about 8,000 of them in the Su­san G. Komen Race for the Cure, for the one in eight women who will be di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer and 40,000 who will die in the U.S. each year with­out a cure.

They walked for a Rus­sian grandmother, Regina Yakutchik, who worked in the drap­ery depart­ment at Sears and who died at 56. They walked for a Bal­ti­more mother, Eve­lyn Gabi­net, who threw an ace horse­shoe and died at 59.

They walked for the woman who started it all, Su­san G. Komen, 36, who died in 1980 when breast health was less dis­cussed. They wanted to shout out about her killer, so they took to the streets. They walked in Dal­las, Texas, with 800 peo­ple in 1983. They walked in 57 U.S. cities about a decade later.

They walked along Bal­ti­more’s In­ner Har­bor with 2,000 peo­ple in 1993. More women came the next year, then even more.

They walked each fall in Hunt Val­ley since 2007 and raised $1.2 mil­lion last year for breast can­cer re­search, said Kim Sch­mu­lowitz, spokeswoman for the Mary­land chap­ter of Su­san G. Komen. The non­profit hopes to match that amount this year.

“As much as aware­ness has grown,” she said, “it’s still a very com­mon and, un­for­tu­nately, very deadly dis­ease.”

They walked Sun­day and some ran for 4,700 Mary­land women di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer each year. Some wore pink go­rilla suits, pink fairy wings and pink wigs.

They walked with­out Judy Da­vanzo of Ti­mo­nium. The 49-year-old ele­men­tary school teacher and fit­ness in­struc­tor died of breast can­cer in April.

“She is here to­day with all of us,” her older sis­ter Jill Frey told the crowd.

Like a but­ter­fly, Da­vanzo would alight on the lives around her, Frey said. The barista from Star­bucks cried be­side her hos­pice bed. Her fam­ily con­tin­ues the non­profit Car­ingOn she founded to sup­port care­givers of can­cer pa­tients. Her sis­ters walked Sun­day with her hus­band, Drew, 16-yearold daugh­ter, Reese, and 11-year-old son, Trace — and all the other fam­i­lies.

They walked for Kathy My­ers, 63, of Har­ford County, who has lived five years free of can­cer, but re­mem­bers the burns on her skin from the che­mother­apy.

They walked for Dorothy Tal­ley, who worked at Si­nai Hos­pi­tal and died two years ago at 56. She had two grown sons.

They walked for Cindy Schroeder of Parkville, a fi­nan­cial-ac­counts man­ager, who died three years ago of breast can­cer at 55. She also had two grown sons.

They walked for Val­lo­rie Sharp, 66, of North­west Bal­ti­more.

“I told them I can’t do no walk­ing,” said Sharp, a re­tired tele­phone com­pany clerk who has been free of can­cer for two years.

Sharp felt a lump on her 64th birth­day. Her daugh­ter and grand­daugh­ters drove her Sun­day to her first Su­san G. Komen Race for the Cure. They walked and she waited in the tent with the mu­sic and pink roses for sur­vivors.

“They even dressed the dog­gies up,” she said. “You see the dog­gies? So you know they’re feel­ing good. It just makes me feel good — makes me tin­gle. It’s like a sea of pink. Look at all this pink. Pink ev­ery­where. It makes you feel good to know there’s all these peo­ple out here walk­ing for some­body.”

They walked for grand­moth­ers, daugh­ters, co-work­ers and friends. They walked for the nearly quar­ter-mil­lion new cases of in­va­sive breast can­cer di­ag­nosed in the United States each year.

Af­ter they walked, they gath­ered be­fore the stage to cel­e­brate the dis­tance they’ve come and their hope for a cure.

Then they danced.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

The start of the 24th An­nual Su­san G. Komen Mary­land Race for the Cure 5K run/walk. The event, one of Mary­land’s largest largest char­ity fundrais­ers, has been held in Hunt Val­ley for the last 10 years.

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