Pink boas and T-shirts will be the dress code for Sunday, Sept. 13, as breast cancer survivor and “Today” anchor Hoda Kotb serves as grand marshal for the 25th anniversary Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure at 9 a.m. in Central Park. The event is a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Greater NYC, and it is attended by hundreds of survivors and thousands of their family members, friends and colleagues
Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. will be in attendance, along with CBS 2/WLNY 10/55 news reporters Mary Calvi, Alice Gainer, Kristine Johnson and Chris Wragge.
Komen states that this signature event brings in “millions of dollars annually to support local breast health programs for medically underserved New Yorkers and to fund breast cancer research.”
“We are thrilled to have Hoda join the thousands of women, men and children who will be in Central Park for our silver anniversary Race for the Cure,” said Linda Tantawi, Komen Greater NYC CEO. “They come to honor survivors, remember those we have lost and celebrate their commitment to our shared vision of a world without breast cancer. Together, we have achieved a great deal since the organization was founded, but there’s still plenty of work to do before we can stop racing.
“A quarter century later, we’re still the only organization funding grassroots local breast health programs and national research to find the cures. Komen Greater NYC is ensuring that low-income women, men and families in the New York City metropolitan area receive access to life-saving breast health screening, treatment, education, outreach and support services. Without them, access to these services would disappear. We will keep working until the cures are found.”
Kotb has been honored twice by Komen Greater NYC and was last year’s race grand marshal. She recalls her own personal saga just after she was diagnosed, and she happened upon the race as she took a run in Central Park.
“I stood there on the sidelines and started applauding … I was by myself … and I stood there until the last person came by,” she said. “I had tears coming down my face. They were waving and they were proud and they were doing something. And it was so symbolic for me: I was on the sidelines and they were in the game. And it was time to get in the game.” Kotb received Komen Greater NYC’s Survivor Award in 2008.
Komen notes that more than 13,000 people are expected to join Kotb in Central Park this year, adding, “Thanks to the fundraising efforts of last year’s participants, in 2015, Komen Greater NYC awarded $1.64 million to 25 local breast health community partners and invested $700,000 in national peer-reviewed breast cancer research programs.”
This reporter is an eight-year survivor and joins the sister- and brotherhood of grateful survivors who applaud all efforts to find a cure and ease the journey of those battling breast cancer, surviving breast cancer and experiencing all the emotions and trials in the pursuit of victory (Squarecircles.org).
Komen Greater NYC states that their partner, Project Renewal, will return with its mobile ScanVan, providing free mammograms from 8 a.m. to noon for qualified women in the Wellness Zone. Appointments are preferred and can be made by calling 1-800-564-6868.
The Bandshell area will be the site of the Sponsor Expo with information, games, attractions and giveaways from race sponsors. Breast cancer survivors, thrivers (those in stage IV of the disease) and their families are invited to participate in the activities in Survivor/Thriver Village, including breakfast at 7 a.m., the pre-race program honoring survivors (Thriver and Co-Survivor of the Year), post-race beauty treatments (hair, mini-massages, reiki and more) and refreshments until noon. Participants can also be part of the Survivor/Thriver Parade and pose for the Survivor/Thriver photo.
The race begins with the first starting gun at 9:20 a.m. for elite female and survivor runners, followed by male and female runners at 9:25 a.m. and walkers at 9:30 a.m. The last group will be led up Central Park West by more than a dozen pink-clad women on Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
For more information on Komen, visit www.komennyc.org.