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Race for the Cure paints Houston pink

October 6, 2018

More than 15,000 runners and walkers painted Houston pink Saturday as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure took over Allen Parkway from downtown to Kirby Drive.

The event, now in its 28th year, raises awareness of breast cancer prevention and treatment and research funds. But this year, said Komen Houston Board President Betsy Kamin, the month of October is about more than pink.

“Fighting breast cancer and saving lives takes more than just a pretty color,” Kamin said. “It takes funding, cutting-edge research, education about early detection, speaking out to our elected leaders, (and providing support).”

The goal of the race, and Komen as a whole, is to slash the 40,000 breast cancer deaths in the United States by half by 2026.

“(Komen) helps survivors know they’re not alone and that people support them,” said Ginny Airklin, Komen Houston’s senior director of community partnerships. “Until there’s a cure, we’re going to keep doing this.”

Since its creation in 1990, Komen Houston has funded more than $36 million in local community programs and research, according to a news release.

On Sept. 25, the Foundation announced a $26 million series of 62 research projects focused on fighting drug resistance, metastasis and health disparities — 47 of which will test new treatments and immunotherapies. More than $3 million of the grants will go to Texas-based institutions and the Texas Medical Center.

This year, 11 Houston organizations — including The Rose, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine — are set to benefit from the more than $787,000 as of race day, not including day-of registration or other donations.

For former Komen Houston board member Molly Bobrow, the fight was personal.

Bobrow, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997 and had a mastectomy — eight years later she developed a new primary cancer in her other breast. Shortly after her first diagnosis, she became involved with Komen Houston and Race for the Cure.

“I had this big pink ribbon hit me in the face and I realized this was going to be a big part of my life,” Bobrow said.

In 2012, Bobrow became a board member of Komen Houston, in part, she said, to reassure other survivors and help women going through their first bout of breast cancer treatments.

“There’s nothing like the bond you share with someone that’s in treatment,” Bobrow said. “I had the reassurance of knowing what I was in for.”

mrincon@chron.com

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