Race for the Cure provides hope, practical helpWritten by Matt Liasse | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise McCroskey will attend the upcoming Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio Toledo Race for the Cure, three years after being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. She is one of two women being honored at this year’s event.
“I was so deeply honored and it was a moment I thought, ‘Somebody has paid attention about what I’ve done and the people I’ve tried to help,’” she said. “It really was an important moment for me.”
Diagnosed in October 2011, McCroskey’s battle has involved a mastectomy, five months of chemotherapy, seven weeks of radiation and the drug Herceptin. She said she didn’t think she would survive three years, but when her treatment ended in September 2012, she was cancer-free.
“I knew I was going to be in a fight for my life,” she said. “I had an overwhelming outpouring of support, which really helped me.”
In the past, McCroskey said when she would face hardship, she would put her thoughts in a journal. So the night she was diagnosed, she created a blog, www.hellocourage.com, to help her cope. Through it, she has reached out to women in 132 countries, answering more than 2,500 emails, she said.
“I didn’t know I would be helping others but I just started writing,” she said. “Through my writing … people started writing me for hope and encouragement. I found my mission and that’s the biggest thing that got me through.”
She still keeps up with the blog today, which is now paired with an online store for hats, scarves and jewelry.
Also being honored this year is Linda Key, who died at age 64 in March 2011. Key was nominated by her former co-workers at Wendt Key Team Realty in Fremont.
“[We nominated her because of] her ability to live with cancer rather than die from cancer,” said Cheryl Wendt, co-owner of Wendt Key Team Realty.
Key, who was often called “LuLu,” battled breast cancer for 18 years. She was diagnosed three times, most recently in 2008. During her battle, Key participated in Susan G. Komen events. Wendt said Key was humble throughout her time dealing with cancer, something her co-workers remembered when nominating her.
“She would’ve been very excited and happy but at the same time she would’ve been very humble and feel that she wasn’t worthy,” Wendt said.
Other ways to help
The organization also offers other ways to contribute.
Sleep In for the Cure is one of those ways, for the people who won’t be showing up. This option is for anyone who will be out of town, who can’t make the race or who simply don’t want to get up early to run but still want to help. These people pay the registration fee and still receive a T-shirt in case they change their minds.
Another option is Dine Out for the Cure. Local restaurants will donate a portion of proceeds to the cause on race day. These restaurants include: Applebee’s, Bob Evans, Don Pablo’s, El Camino Real, Frisch’s Big Boy, Glass City Café, Luckie’s Barn & Grill, Manhattan’s, Max & Erma’s, PizzaPapalis, Spaghetti Warehouse, Star Diner, The Blarney Irish Pub, The Oasis, Ye Olde Cock n’ Bull and Ye Olde Durty Bird.
McCroskey said her outlook has changed from when she was first diagnosed.
“I equated breast cancer with death. I didn’t have any experience with breast cancer; I didn’t know people with breast cancer [and] the people that I did know had died from breast cancer,” she said. “The advice I give is [that] you have to live literally just hours at a time. It’s so overwhelming sometimes. The biggest thing that often women feel is they want to give up and they feel like they just want to die because it’s so grueling. I tell them those are normal feelings. No family member wants to hear about that. No friends want to hear about that. They tell you [to] stay hopeful, stay positive … and you just want to say ‘I feel like giving up.’ When I tell them that’s normal, that makes them feel better. … They just need to know that their overwhelming feelings are OK and someone else has felt those feelings.”
The Race for the Cure
The Toledo race will take place Sept. 28 and is scheduled to include a 5K chipped time run, a 5K walk and a one-mile family walk with a kids’ activity area.
Register in advance at Franklin Park Mall, 5001 Monroe St., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 20 or at the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 25-26 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 27. Online registration is also available until midnight Sept. 24.
The Susan G. Komen organization was founded in 1982 by Nancy G. Brinker for her sister, Susan, who died from breast cancer. It is currently the world’s largest breast cancer awareness organization. The Northwest Ohio affiliate officially formed in 1999. The the first race in Toledo was in 1994, Communications Coordinator Jill Borkowski said.
Of the money raised by Komen Northwest Ohio, 75 percent stays in a 24-county service area to provide breast cancer health and treatment programs to local women and men, Borkowski said. The other 25 percent goes to Komen’s national research program.
For more information, visit www.komennwohio.org.