Virtual Race for the Cure brings hope to breast cancer survivors and patients in NW Ohio

Although the pandemic has affected Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio’s resources, her work for breast cancer patients and survivors is more important than ever.

TOLEDO, Ohio – This year’s Race for the Cure looks very different from last year. The coronavirus has taken our crowd and hugs, but not our will to fight.

In 2020 we are walking alone or socially aloof, but we are still moving one foot in front of the other towards healing.

My walk took me to Mary Westphal, the general manager of Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio, who says we need to keep moving.

“Explain some of the challenges the organization has faced over the past six months,” I asked her.

“Sure, as with all companies and organizations, the pandemic has really changed the way we do business. And our fundraising is mostly through the Race for the Cure, and we know that this year, since we’ve gone virtual, I’m going to see some other numbers in this Race for the Cure, but we still have a lot of people who Have registered, people go for a walk in their neighborhood and they walk or run at home, so that’s good.

In any case, we are seeing a shift in our numbers, but our work is still very important and our breast cancer survivors are still in great need of our services. Nothing has changed on that front, and in fact, our breast cancer survivors may have greater needs right now because they are losing their jobs, losing their insurance, and fewer resources available in the community. Therefore, it is now more important than ever to support and support the good work we are doing on site and the good work we are doing in research to find a cure for breast cancer, ”said Westphal.

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Westphal said 16,000 to 20,000 people could find themselves in a sea of ​​pink each year. But only half of them sign up and pay the fee used for research, mammograms, direct care, and education.

“It’s important for people to realize that the $ 30 registration fee is another way we can help fund our important programs directly. So when people register, you pay their $ 30 registration fee when they ask their friends to help them fundraise, and they earn a personal donation, these things make a difference.

One of the things that worries me the most about walking is how much survivors are empowered by running each year.

Seeing other survivors, getting support and celebrating their victory just gives so much hope, “said Gretchen Awad with Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio.

Awad is positive survivor and metastasis survivors still feel connected.

“What are you doing now that everything has to be virtual to continue reaching these groups?” I asked Awad and Westphal.

“We are doing wonderful things to connect with our survivor community and to engage our community living with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer,” said Awad.

She said many had attended the Spirit Weeks before the race and were thrilled to be adding a virtual component after the pandemic.

“I think we’ve got really, really positive feedback from those who enjoy the virtual, and we’ll always recognize that those who live with breast cancer and metastases have weakened immune systems. Person Race For the Cure next year, I don’t think we’ll ever step back from a virtual component and make sure people with Komen Northwest Ohio can interact in the way they feel comfortable, ”said Awad.

I also wanted to know how the nonprofit that is such a resource for survivors will continue to be there, with greater needs and less money to give.

“What do you think for Komen, what will be the way forward?” I asked.

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“I think that remains to be seen, doesn’t it? I think Komen will continue to have a very important local presence and I think we will see some changes in the way we do business. And I think we will go on and on.” To remain determined to serve directly and save lives in the fight against breast cancer, “Westphal said.

And that is a fight that will last until there is no longer any need for a Race for a Cure.

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