5K highlights Breast Cancer Awareness
November 1, 2012
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Pink was the prominent color as over 170 Hohenfels community members gathered for the garrisons first Breast Cancer Awareness 5K run , recently.
"We're here today to promote educating and empowering women to take charge of their own breast health as well as their own physical fitness which plays a vital role in a healthy lifestyle," said Chris Cornelison, Hohenfels FMWR Sports and Fitness chief.
October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and is marked by national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to services.
"The campaign is designed to remind us to take steps, to have a plan for early intervention, detection, and to encourage others to do the same," said Lt. Col. Christopher David, Hohenfels Health Clinic commander.
Despite such a massive national movement, breast cancer remains the most common form of cancer in women worldwide with over 1.6 million new cases in 2010. This year alone in the U.S., experts predict 290,000 new cases. A staggering one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and although it's not common among men, it does happen. In 2012, an estimated 2200 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
When David asked participants asked if they knew someone who had been affected by the disease, virtually everyone present raised their hand.
"The good news is when breast cancer is detected early in its localized stage, survival rate is approximately 98 percent, " David said.
"Creating an early detection plan is the single most important thing you can do increase your chances of catching breast cancer in its early stages. It enables you to be proactive about your health and reminds you to perform routine self exams and to schedule breast exams and mammograms depending on your age and your health history," said David.
David added that even beyond breast cancer, Army medicine is transitioning from a health care system, to a system for health, trying to move away from the days of sick call and focusing solely on disease and injury, to a new focus on early prevention, identification and individual life choices.
Breast cancer survivors and those currently battling the disease were invited to run the race carrying a pink balloon, and the crowd cheered as these courageous women came forward.
Most participants wore a pink ribbon with a button featuring the name of someone in whose honor they were running, while others had designed custom T -shirts emblazoned with the names of lost love ones.
Monica Arganda and her children Blake and Kaya each wore a T -shirt displaying the names of three family members who had survived breast cancer.
"This is their great grandmother and their two aunts," said Arganda. "We're honoring them and their lives."
Runners, walkers, children and dogs were all in high spirits with participants cheering and calling encouragement to each other along the route.
Stacye Downing, director of USAG Hohenfels Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March of this year and has undergone surgery and chemo over the past six months. She said she was overwhelmed by the support of the community and the number of participants.
"It's indescribable. I feel so much love and encouragement. Those are things that no one can do without when they are fighting for their life," she said.
Prizes were awarded with Kelly Witty taking the fastest female spot with a time of 21:44, and the overall winner, Milan Wurst, a Czech Republic soldier on hand for the Saber Junction training exercise, clocking in at 18:36.
"Our primary purpose for conducting the event was to get the information out there," Cornelison said. "If (participants) got some new information, and now they feel empowered and know about early detection and self exams and the support groups and services out there, then we met our goal."
"This is a disease that has affected a lot of people so we really wanted to be sure we got this one right," he added. "After the race, a couple ladies who are survivors came up to me and said 'thank you for doing this, it was a really great event.' We wanted it to be something people would remember. I feel like we hit a home run."