Rain didn’t stop Race for the Cure diehards

Rain didn’t stop Race for the Cure diehards
October 01
00:00 2015

Participants in the race for the Cure at the BB&T Ballpark in downtown Winston Salem, Saturday September 26.

Tori P. Haynesworth

For The Chronicle

The Susan G. Komen Northwest NC held its annual Race for the Cure on a rainy Saturday, Sept. 26 ,at the BB&T Ballpark in downtown Winston-Salem. In spite of the weather, about 3,000 participants still came out to support the cause.

The race supports research to fight breast cancer. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

There were several vendors of information about breast cancer, healthy snacks for participants after the race, and a memorial decorated for loved ones remembered who lost their fight to the disease. The Winston-Salem Dash mascot was also there, with a host of supporters and volunteers on the sidelines cheering for those involved.

“We are always focused on spreading the word about breast health and available resources,” said Sarah Thompson, financial, volunteer management and Hispanic outreach coordinator. “Many people think we are just the Race, but we do so much more.”

According to Thompson, the Faces of Breast Cancer are individuals who spread awareness about breast health, the importance of early detection and available resources for those in need in the community. Kelly Cason, one of the Faces for Forsyth County was in the race. This was her second year participating, but her first time having a team with her that consists of family, friends and co-workers.

“I joined Komen NW January 2015 as a face of Forsyth County,” said Cason. “I actually began raising money prior to being on the Komen committee at Pepsico, where I am employed, three years prior to being diagnosed in November 2012.”

For most women, breast cancer can be a part of their family health history. In Cason’s case, this wasn’t so, even though she performed a gene test.

“Coincidently, my mom’s sister was diagnosed on the same day as I was, with a different breast cancer and stage three. We fought together the last couple of years until she sadly lost her battle at the beginning of this year,” Cason said.

Cason has battled breast cancer three times: 2012, 2014 and March of this year. Even though she is currently cancer free, she still seeks preventative treatments at Wake Health Cancer Center. Cason has mentioned how thankful she has been that Komen Northwest NC’s research money has assisted her in fighting the disease, which is why she has dedicated herself to the program.

Another Faces of Breast Cancer from the previous year (2014) is Sherry Dixon. Dixon has been participating in the races since 2003, and Team Pinky was formed in 2013 in honor of her sister, Donna Marie. In her case, it has been a family health history, since her grandmother was diagnosed, while living to be 83 years old before she lost the battle.

“I was the first co-survivor chosen to be a Face,” said Dixon. “A co-survivor is one who has not been diagnosed with breast cancer but has closely helped a family member through the plight of fighting the illness.”

Dixon also stated that she has been involved with Komen Northwest NC since it first began. She speaks at local events and churches in Forsyth and Guilford counties about breast health, as well as being the anchorage for Team Pinky.

“Check your breasts and stay current with your yearly visits,” said Cason. “Breast cancer is killing African-American women at an alarming rate. Especially young women. Check and go with your intuition if something feels off. Breast cancer does not have to be in your family for you to get it.”

“To my African-American sisters, I want them to know that statistically we are less likely to get breast cancer than Caucasian women,” Dixon said. “However, we are 77 percent more likely to die from the disease once it’s diagnosed. Why? Well, most times it’s diagnosed at a later stage and it’s often a more aggressive form of the disease, known as the Triple Negative. Breast cancer is the number one cancer health among black women, that’s what I want my sisters to know. Early detection is the key to fighting this illness and winning.”

The Susan G. Komen Northwest NC has raised $111,000 so far. The fundraiser is still open until Nov. 2 to those who still wish to make a donation for continued research, mammography screenings and more. Many of the teams turn in their funds after the race.

To learn more, how to get involved or make donations for the cause, visit, call 336-721-0037 or email


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