Race for the Cure to honor two local womenWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Ingrid Bias was closing a window the night she felt something wrong with her breast tissue.
“Of course, my heart sank because I knew something was seriously wrong,” said the associate minister at Abundant Life Baptist Church.
Bias had a mammogram and biopsy and learned she had three tumors in her breasts. Within 30 days of her discovery in the summer of 2011, she had a double mastectomy, a second surgery and chemotherapy.
Now in the summer of 2012, her annual MRI has come back clean, she’s on a vegetarian diet and she’s lost 25 pounds. She is also the “In Celebration” honoree for the 19th Annual Northwest Ohio Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The Sept. 30 race takes place Downtown and includes a Survivors Tent and Parade.
The 5K run/walk earned the local Komen affiliate about $1 million last year. Most of that money goes to support grants in the 24-county area the affiliate serves and the rest goes to support research. The affiliate is aiming to have 20,000 participants at its Race for the Cure event this year.
“The Race for the Cure is our primary way of raising revenue,” said Mary Westphal, executive director of the chapter. “It literally means saving lives in the fight against breast cancer right here locally in the community.”
Bias said she is grateful to be the honoree this year, but it “leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth.”
“I pretty much went through hell to be the honoree,” she said. Much of Bias’ treatment was funded by grants from Komen to CareNet.
“We have pretty much worked hand in hand since,” Bias said. “They are a rare group, I must say. Mary and those women talk to me like we’ve been friends for life.”
One of the reasons Bias is passionate about Komen is its support of African-American women. African-American women older than 40 in Northwest Ohio are diagnosed at a significantly lower rate than white women, but their mortality rate is nearly equal, according to Komen.
“Right now, I don’t see anybody else out there saying, ‘What can we do for African-American women? What can we do to keep them alive?’” Bias said.
Bias recently went through training to be a community health adviser to minority women. The training was courtesy of a $1 million grant from KeyBank Foundation and will eventually serve more than 110,000 women.
“Breast cancer is diagnosed every two minutes, and a woman dies of breast cancer every 13 minutes in the United States,” said Beth E. Mooney, KeyCorp chairman in a news release. “Its impact is especially devastating for women of color, who are more likely to die from breast cancer, and for poor or uninsured women.”
Now Bias makes a point to educate other women on the eight signs of breast cancer and accompanies women to mammograms and treatment.
“If a stranger talks to me too long, it’s gonna come up,” she said. Bias encouraged women to get checked out, especially if they are scared.
“I encourage them to go in. You know why? Because if they’re scared, there’s a reason for it,” she said. Bias also emphasized taking vanity out of the equation.
“When I’m talking about the vanity, in the African-American community, we don’t want to be ostracized for a mastectomy,” she said. “Women have to realize a lot of women have had mastectomies.”
“There’s life after a mastectomy. You can’t make it about somebody else. You have to make it about you,” she said.
Westphal said of Bias, “She is a very strong woman. She’s very inspiring. She’s a woman who has battled breast cancer with grace and style.”
Margaret “Lambie” Guyton Stout will also be honored at the race. Stout, a mother and businesswoman, died from breast cancer Sept. 11, 2011, at 42.
The race will include a three-quarter-mile “Fun Walk” with mascots and prompts like “hop like bunny,” starting at 10 a.m. There will also be a Kids for the Cure play area at Fifth Third Field. Parental supervision is required.
Online registration is available at komennwohio.org. Registration can also be mailed to 1255 Corporation Drive, P.O. Box 1147, Holland, 43528. On-site registration is available race day at 7:30-9 a.m. at Fifth Third Field. Brondes Ford Maumee will have registration 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 27 and 28 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 29.
The race begins at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 30. The survivor parade is at 8:45 a.m. and the awards ceremony is 10:45 a.m. Race-day registration is $45. Pre-registration is $30 for adults and $20 for those younger than 17. For a map and complete schedule, visit www.komennwohio.org/komen-race-for-the-cure.