‘Race for the Cure’ more than just a 5K

By Chase Gage
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO — The third annual Northeast Arkansas Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Arkansas State University will take place April 27. For breast cancer survivors, the race hits close to home.

The Race for the Cure nation-wide event raises money for breast cancer research. In 2017, the race found its way to Jonesboro for the first time. The 5K is primarily a fundraiser, but it also inspires hope.

Elizabeth Forehand, a local breast cancer survivor, will be participating in her fourth Race for the Cure this year. She survived her 2014 diagnosis after four surgeries.

“It was a shock to hear. No one wants to hear ‘cancer.’ I had the attitude that I have to fight this. I have a life to live, so let’s do this,” Forehand said. “Just being around other survivors and sharing our stories and being able to see that all these people have beaten cancer, it’s just awesome. It’s very encouraging.”

The race encourages survivors to participate by hosting a survivor breakfast at 7 a.m. followed by a survivor parade just prior to the race. The race itself will start at 9 a.m.

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Participants walk in the 2018 Race for the Cure in Jonesboro. The 2018 race raised over $330,000. (Photo by Chase Gage)

Other pre-race events include a “pink pasta party” and the “Men’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” race, where men “run” a mile in heels.

Contributions are welcomed in several forms, including participation and donation. Donations of any amount are welcomed, with registration costing at least $25.

Northeast Arkansas race chair Amanda Herget said the goal is to raise $400,000 this year.

“Our goal with this race is to get awareness out, not just to Jonesboro but to all of the communities (in Northeast Arkansas),” Herget said. “The money that we raise gets sent to Komen and then redistributed to Northeast Arkansas through grants to purchase things such as mammography machines and buses for transportation (for those that need it).”

Several local entities, such as St. Bernards Healthcare, Gearhead Outfitters, East Arkansas Broadcasters and others, are fundraising through the race’s website. Kara Richey, host of The Weekday Red Zone” on 95.3 The Ticket, is fundraising for the third consecutive year. With this years’ donations, her fundraising total has exceeded $5,000 in total.

“They’ll use a lot of this money to fund things like free mammograms early testing in Northeast Arkansas and around the state. I love that our money stays local,” Richey said.

Breast cancer has played a large role in Richey’s life. At 12 years old, she lost her mother to breast cancer, and her aunt is a survivor of the deadly disease. These personal experiences fuel her fundraising efforts.

“Unfortunately, this disease has been in my life for a very long time, and I hope that one day we can finally cure it so we don’t have to do this anymore,” she said.

Women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a rate of one out of eight. Every 13 minutes, a woman in the United States dies from the disease. Worldwide, that number jumps to one per minute. Every little bit makes a difference.