COLUMBIA — Just as in every 5k, there's competition in the Susan G. Komen Mid-Missouri Race for the Cure. But unlike most races, this race is also against breast cancer.
"The idea is to finish both races, right?" Sherri Mason, 41, who is battling breast cancer, said.
Mason is one of the thousands of participants from across the state that celebrated breast cancer survivors at the third annual Susan G. Komen Mid-Missouri Race for the Cure. The mid-Missouri race is expected to raise $300,000, which will be used to fund breast cancer screening, education and treatment in the mid-Missouri area, as well as national research on curing breast cancer.
Thirteen years ago, Mason took care of her sister-in-law while she suffered from breast cancer, and then Mason was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Thanks to early detection, she did not have to receive radiation or chemotherapy but did undergo a mastectomy and reconstructive surgery.
With more treatment ahead, Mason hopes to beat the cancer this fall. As a nurse, she said she encourages all women over 40 years old to get regular mammograms.
Mason is not alone in her fight. As of 8:30 a.m. Sunday, about 2,850 participants were at the race, Registration Committee Chairwoman Molly Froidl said.
"I would say we will be closer to 3,000, hopefully, by the time we are all said and done," Froidl said.
Standing with his team clad in homemade pink tutus and "I run for Boobs" T-shirts, MU chemistry student Calem Lipper was running in his first race. His dad's girlfriend is a survivor, and he said he is proud to be participating.
"Yes, I am proud to be wearing this," he said. "This is going to be a new experience. I'm just looking to have fun with it."
Lindsay Pollack, a senior at MU, has been participating in Race for the Cure since she was 3 years old. This year is her first time participating in the Columbia event, and she started a team with her sorority, Chi Omega. The sorority had 91 members participate, all of whom were sporting "Hooters for Hooters" tank tops, connecting their sorority symbol, the owl, with breast cancer awareness.
Lindsay Pollack's mother, Bonnie Gordon, who now serves on the board of directors for Susan G. Komen, has survived two battles with breast cancer. She suggested the slogan.
"She's a pretty cool cat," Lindsay Pollack said.
Approximately 400 volunteers helped make this race possible, including MU graduate Khandicia Randolph. One of her sorority sisters was diagnosed with breast cancer before she turned 30 years old, and Randolph said she believes the saying "service is the rent you pay for living."
"When I have a chance to help out, I always try to," she said.
Another volunteer Allen Missoi is a radiology resident physician at University Hospital.
His job entails looking at women's mammograms and deciding if they need to be biopsied.
"I wanted to not just be involved in the imaging of breast cancer — I wanted to be involved in the community, the education of breast cancer," Missoi said. "I enjoy meeting these great women out here instead of in the hospital."
The race ended with a final lap around Faurot Field, with Missouri's cheerleaders, the Golden Girls and Truman the Tiger cheering on racers as they finished. Most crossed the finish line sweaty and smiling.
"I had to walk just a little bit, twice," said Drew Schlimme, 7.
He participated for the first time this year because he wanted to join his family for the race.
"It makes me feel good, and I'm happy I did it," he said.
Supervising editor is Zach Murdock.