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A Day of Celebration and Remembrance

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For many, the idea of joining a crowd of thousands can be an overwhelming experience.

For the breast cancer community, the Race for the Cure can turn a crowd of thousands into a community of sisterhood. A shared hug from those who have battled just as you have. A collective smile noting that “We’ve got your back; we’re with you all the way.”

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is the signature event for the local affiliate. The Race raises more money than any other event led by Komen Kansas City and provides for the greatest impact throughout the year. Nearly 10,000 supporters gather for the event annually.

It’s a celebration of life and love for those who have been and are still battling this disease. It’s a chance for the families and friends to be around a community of supporters with shared experiences. And while the theme of the day might be celebration, we pause throughout the event to remember those who are no longer with us in the fight.

“Race day can be an emotional roller coaster for the survivors and their families,” said Denise Wiese, interim executive director of the Greater Kansas City affiliate. “The payoff is the smiles from those marching during the survivor parade and throughout the day. We host the event as a way to recognize all they have been through as well as to thank the thousands who participate and fundraise so that others will never have to deal with this disease.”

While Race day clearly has a focus on breast cancer survivors and the progress made toward finding the cures, it’s clear to see that the event has morphed in to a family festival over the years. “We’ve changed a lot about the traditional Race this year,” said David Armstrong, special events director. “There’s more of everything than in the past. More music with our post-event concert. More free parking than ever before. More food with the addition of the Food Truck Mafia and more fun for kids with our inflatable kids’ village, to name a few.”

Armstrong noted that the new date, time and location mainly stemmed from participant feedback and the need to re-invent portions of the event. “We are thrilled to hold our Race on a Saturday afternoon in October,” Armstrong added. “This allows us to do much more than in past years. Bringing the Race to Black & Veatch and Sprint in Overland Park has opened up many exciting opportunities and partnerships.”

This year marks the 24th Race. The majority of funds generated from the Race are reinvested into the community through programs and services as well as into national research grants. More than $21 million has been raised by Komen KC over the years, money that is used every day to meet their mission of saving lives and ending breast cancer forever. Wiese says those words are on the minds her staff every day of the year and especially on Race day. ■

For more information on Komen Kansas City or the Race, please visit

Written by: Michael A. Levine
Communications, Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City