YOU CAN’T JUST THINK PINK
Thousands hit city streets to raise money to fight cancer.
When Alvira Edwards had a lump in her breast about 30 years ago, her doctor told her not to worry.
By the time the Elmhurst Twp. resident was diagnosed with cancer, it was too late to save the woman that her nieces, Ellie McCauley and Lyn Giordano, still think of as a second mother.
A generation later, when McCauley, 53, and Giordano, 56, join the annual Komen NEPA Race for the Cure, they normally do it in remembrance of Edwards and two other aunts who suffered from breast cancer, to support the cause and because they like walking.
The event had added significance for the Lehigh Twp. sisters this year, however, as they joined more than 3,000 people Saturday for the 27th annual 5K walk/run that raises money for cancer research and other assistance for Northeast Pennsylvania residents.
“I ended up with breast cancer this year, so it’s a little more important,” McCauley said. “I had three surgeries and radiation. They said I’m good,
and now I’m just doing follow-up. I’m hoping for the best.”
McCauley recalled first receiving the terrifying diagnosis and feeling like she’d been punched in the face. She said Delta Medix and Dr. Kristine Kelley took good care of her, and a third lumpectomy over a four-week span allowed her to avoid a mastectomy.
Unlike her aunt, doctors caught the cancer in time because McCauley gets regular screenings.
“What (Edwards) told all of us was if you ever feel a lump and your doctor says, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ get a new doctor immediately,” McCauley said. “(I get screenings) every year. They said if I didn’t do it every year, they probably would have missed it.”
Dolly Woody, executive director of Komen NEPA, said the turnout for Saturday’s festivities was higher than last year’s, and the organization was hoping to raise $200,000.
Of the money raised, 25 percent goes to cancer research while the rest stays in Northeast Pennsylvania to fund cancer screenings, education and treatments.
“This is an event that is really about the survivors,” she said. “Everything we do is to help us to get toward the ultimate goal, which is to find a cure. And while we’re waiting for that to happen, we need to be available to people who need us the most: people who don’t have insurance and need to get a breast screening that they’ve never had before because they couldn’t afford it.”
Scranton Running Co. was the race director and event management team this year and split runners and walkers into two routes at North Washington Avenue, where walkers continued to Courthouse Square and runners headed to Adams Avenue and Linden Street.
Race coordinator Jill Eidenberg thought it was a hit and said 500 people pre-registering to run the course — an increase from last year — suggested serious racers liked the change.
The top time for men went to Matt Murray of Dunmore at 16 minutes and 52 seconds, while Shickshinny resident Josey Rupert finished first among women at 19 minutes and 46 seconds.
Organizers also added more activities at this year’s event, including “pink hair on the square,” pumpkin painting and an obstacle course for children, to make the event more family friendly.
Kerri Gaughan pushed her 1½-year-old daughter, Quinn, in a stroller as the Clarks Summit resident ran in the main event, joining other participants who ran with dogs on leashes or carried small children on their shoulders as they walked the course.
The 32-year-old said she and her daughter regularly jog together at the Clarks Summit trolley trail.
“She’s a good coach,” Gaughan said. Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100, x5181; @kwindTT on Twitter
Members of Scranton Running Co.’s Barrier Breakers — including Laura Fierke, center, and Kathleen Haikes, both of Scranton — embrace Saturday after finishing the Susan G. Komen NEPA Race for the Cure in downtown Scranton.
Breast cancer survivors Andrea Swenski, left, and Mary Anne Meeker dance their way to the finish line Saturday during the 27th annual Susan G. Komen NEPA Race for the Cure in downtown Scranton.
Left, top: Cameron Schwartz, 7, of Mountain Top has a pink design sprayed into her hair by Malcolm’s Haircutters’ Michele Martorana of Scranton. Left, bottom: Ava Ramsey, 12, of Clarks Summit picks up finisher medals that she’ll hand out to kids at the finish line. Above: Ashtynne DeLucy, 5, is helped by her father, Alan DeLucy, through the Athletes Caring Together obstacle course.