Running in the rain is not most people’s idea of fun. However, for warriors of breast cancer, nothing can dampen a community of support.
Survivors and those currently battling the disease all gathered at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday for the 28th annual South Florida Race for the Cure. The racers ran along South Flagler Drive and finished at Meyer Amphitheatre.
Stephanie Carroll, who has stage IV metastatic breast cancer, has been attending the race since before she was diagnosed in 2013.
Metastatic breast cancer starts in the lymph nodes and spreads to other parts of the body. Those who are diagnosed with the disease only have a 22 percent survival rate, according to Breastcancer.org.
“We are forever fighters, and what that means is we have to fight every single day to continue treatment, to continue to live life, despite the fact that we may have breast cancer,” Carroll said.
For Carroll, the race inspired hope before as a bystander, and now as a fighter.
“I was always a supporter because I knew that if one day something happened, I would get the same love that I felt when watching the warriors in the race,” Carroll said.
Dawn Failla, a breast cancer survivor of 12 years, was diagnosed at age 36. She said the race brings hope to those battling the disease.
“I think anytime a group this big shows empowerment it really shows that people are in it together and not going through this alone,” Failla said.
Young Survival Coalition reported that over 250,000 women under the age of 40 each year are diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S.
Out of these 250,000 women, the Susan G. Komen foundation united 15,000 survivors this year.
“I know that [breast cancer] is personal, and something that touches way too many women's lives,” Carroll said.
For fellow survivor Lisa Fitter, the money raised at the event helped her get the treatment she needed.
“They funded all my testing because I didn’t have insurance at the time,” Fitter said. “I’m in a position where I am okay and thriving and we just want to give back to women in my position who don’t have insurance.”
Seventy-five percent of the funds from this event stay in the South Florida community, according to Susan G. Komen Florida. The remaining 25 percent will go toward a national Komen research grant. The Komen research grant goes towards funding new treatment methods for breast cancer, according to Susan G. Komen Coalition.
“The women are getting younger that are being diagnosed, so to find that trigger would be a dream,” Connie Karol, a breast cancer survivor of 14 years, said.
By Morgan Therrien and Sofia Jas