Soggy weather can't dampen "Cure" spirit

Karen and Jeff Saturday
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Updated: .

Indianapolis - A little rain couldn't dampen the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure participants' enthusiasm Saturday.

The Indianapolis Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was held Saturday morning. The event - a 5K run/walk and 1-mile family walk - was held on the campus of IUPUI and Military Park in downtown Indianapolis. This year's numbers of 42,000 topped last year's participation, which was around 39,000.

The overall goal is to raise money for breast cancer research, but the process is just as important. Survivors, and their families and friends, all come out to show their support for each other, share their stories and connect.

Colts player Jeff Saturday and his wife are honorary co-chairs of this year's race.

"Karen and I decided to do it a number of years ago - just the number of women it truly affects throughout our nation. As we talked about things we want to be a part of, we came out and supported it just by signing autographs, hanging out, and we saw how inspirational it was to watch the Pink Parade, the survivors' parade to be around one of the biggest events in Indianapolis and watch our city really support the women, daughters of our city, it's just been fantastic," Jeff Saturday said.

It's also personal for the Saturdays. Karen Saturday says she and her husband have an aunt and a close friend who died from the disease.

"I actually walked in the survivor's parade this morning and it's just sobering. They're looking for their families and they're waving and you just feel the love of all these people here. It's unbelievable. I wouldn't miss it," said Karen Saturday.

The Indianapolis Race for the Cure is the country's largest.

"I think it just shows how great our city is," said Jeff Saturday. "When our city sees the need, people coming out here - it doesn't get better than this. It's a great springtime event. We bring our family. All three of our kids come out. Just to be around each other; I think it encourages people to see other survivors and see other people see things that they are battling. It makes them encouraged to get through this."

Jeff Saturday might be a tough guy on the field, but he's not afraid to don his "Real men wear pink" shirt. His wife says that attitude means a lot to breast cancer survivors "because the women see that their husbands will help them get through it and they see that they all support them."

Karen Saturday also praised the crowd turnout for such a soggy morning. "And rain or shine, look how many people showed up."

That support means the world to survivors.

"It's an honor. It's a privilege. It's a blessing because God did not promise me the 19 years I have survived. I always tell survivors not to worry about that five-year arc that the doctors give you and just take each day one at a time and be grateful for what God gives you," said Mary Moores, race participant.

Moores says the support of family, church and friends has made a big difference in her life. "Without that I don't think I would have made it."

Linda Connors, an eight-year survivor, was wearing a shocking pink wig. She was walking with her sister. "It means a lot because there are so many 50-year survivors even."

Esther Bowman is a ten-year survivor who was at the Race with many family and friends.

"The support is so important. I think I recognized that when I was first diagnosed. I was quiet for a while. Then I started talking about it and it was actually healing because I had so much support and I had people praying for me and that meant so much," she said.

Bowman's advice for women who are facing the uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis?

"Just have faith and make sure you go through your treatments. Make sure you get your mammogram. That is so important. And go to your doctor regularly."

Channel 13 Eyewitness News Anchors Andrea Morehead and John Stehr will again serve as the emcees of Opening Ceremonies at the Race for the Cure.  Last year, nearly 40,000 people took to the downtown streets to help raise $2.3 million for breast cancer research, treatment and education. 

Of the net proceeds from the Indianapolis race, 75% will stay in Central Indiana to fund screenings and follow-up care for underserved women. The proceeds will also help provide education about breast health and early detection, as well as education and outreach programs specifically about breast cancer.  The remaining 25% helps fund the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Research Program.

Learn more about Race for the Cure