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.
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.
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
Texarkana Independent School District - first place
Texarkana College - second place
Enon Baptist Church - first place
Shiloh's Angels - second place
Small business Division:
State Bank - first place
Mayo Furniture - second place
Sterno Candle Lamp Company - first place
CHRISTUS St. Michael Health Systems - second place
Largest New Team:
Reliance Mechanical Contractors
Pumpkin - Wisdom Animal Clinic
Burger - Texarkana Radio Center
Grow-getter Team Award:
Texarkana, Ark. School District