Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Survivor' Takes on Special Meaning; This Race's Not Really a Race; Being There's What Matters

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Survivor' Takes on Special Meaning; This Race's Not Really a Race; Being There's What Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton

There was a sea of pink in and around Metropolitan Park Saturday morning as a large, pink-clad crowd gathered for the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

There were pink shirts, pink hats, pink wigs, pink tutus, pink confetti shot from a cannon at the starting line of the 5K race, even a pink mustache.

Near the Metro Park amphitheater stage, an area had been set aside for breast cancer survivors, who wore pink T-shirts that declared each a "Survivor." Many ate breakfast as they waited for the race to begin.

"This is beautiful," said Arlene Jones, who passed her 10th anniversary of being cancer free in September. "Each year it grows and grows. It's a special event for me."

Michele "Mickey" Allen said she began volunteering at the race a decade ago. At the time, she had no idea she would eventually be diagnosed with and survive breast cancer.

"That's way too common," said her friend Kathy Bank, herself a 14-year survivor. "This is a very rewarding day for us. All the support Jacksonville shows is inspiring."

Like Allen, Christine Propes is a longtime supporter of the Komen race, which she participated in every year for "support and awareness."

Then last summer, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy.

"It's always been very near and dear," she said. "But now it's become much more personal."

The cause inspired a lot of funny, semi-bawdy messages on T-shirts:

"Save the tatas." "Honk if you like boobies." "I'm here for the boobs, bro." "Jogging for jugs."

The goal in naming a team and coming up with a slogan is to "be as appropriate as possible while being inappropriate," said Cindy Berry, a four-year survivor.

As for the race, it was clear that a lot of the 3,300 participants were there to be a part of the event, not to try to set personal records. …

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