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Outrunning Cancer: Crowd unites to fight deadly disease

Outrunning Cancer: Crowd unites to fight deadly disease

October 21st, 2018 by Greg Bischof in Texarkana News

Breast cancer survivors march in pink holding fans stating how many years they have been cancer free Saturday on Front Street in downtown Texarkana, Ark., before the Race for the Cure 5K event. The annual event lets survivors celebrate being cancer free and promotes awareness.

Photo by Hunt Mercier /Texarkana Gazette.

As early morning clouds broke to let in sunshine for the 20th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, it also seemed to brighten the hopes of breast cancer survivors.

Runners for the competitive Race for the Cure 5K event take off from the starting line.

Runners for the competitive Race for the Cure...

Photo by Hunt Mercier /Texarkana Gazette.

These survivors numbered just a few hundred of the several thousand who participated in the event Saturday at its new location in downtown Texarkana.

Along with the survivors, more 100 competitive runners and at least 3,000 joggers and walkers along with encouraging family members, supportive friends and volunteers made their way to the city's center.

For the past two decades, this annual fundraiser has netted more than $5 million aimed at continuing research for a breast cancer cure.

"It looks like Mother Nature is really with us this morning." said Pam Beck, the event's chair.

For Texarkana, Ark., Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell, herself a breast cancer survivor, the sunshine had a spiritual meaning.

"It rained a lot at my house last night, but this morning proves that God truly loves pink," she said.

Perhaps one of the event's more poignant moments came when a parade of breast cancer survivors passed in front of the reviewing stage as Miss Lone Star Outstanding Teen Allie Grace Graves sang the 1970s hits song "I Will Survive."

As the event's competitive runners made their way to the finish lines, one of them, Lacey Young of De Queen, Ark., who happened to be the first female runner to finish, said she participates in competitions like this in honor of her mother, Sharon Pigeon, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

"Mom is my motivation," she said.

Texarkana, Texas, Mayor Bob Bruggeman and Texarkana, Ark., Mayor Ruth Penney-Bell read the proclamation to the public Saturday at the Race for the Cure in downtown Texarkana.

Texarkana, Texas, Mayor Bob Bruggeman and Texarkana, Ark.,...

Photo by Hunt Mercier /Texarkana Gazette.

While the total funds raised by the event hadn't yet been tallied at the end of the day's activities, Race for the Cure Director Amber Lawrence said last year's event collected about $156,000.

Following the return of participating jogging and walking teams, the event concluded with the handing out of spirit awards for the various groups. This year marked the first year the local United Steel Workers team participated.

"We had about 70 people sign up for our team," United Steel Workers team captain Paul Raney said. "We did this because we think it's time for us to reach out and help the community—and show our support for curing breast cancer."



Race for the Cure Team Winners

Participating commercial sponsors, school districts and churches received various team spirit awards. They include:



Largest Family Award:

"The Girls" - first place

United Steel Workers - second place

Spirit Award: Team Lora

School Division:

Texarkana Independent School District - first place

Texarkana College - second place

Church Division:

Enon Baptist Church - first place

Shiloh's Angels - second place

Small business Division:

State Bank - first place

Mayo Furniture - second place

Corporate Division:

Sterno Candle Lamp Company - first place

CHRISTUS St. Michael Health Systems - second place

Largest New Team:

Reliance Mechanical Contractors

Tailgating Award:

Pumpkin - Wisdom Animal Clinic

Burger - Texarkana Radio Center

Grow-getter Team Award:

Texarkana, Ark. School District

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