BANGOR, Maine — The Race for the Cure has become an annual tradition for several families that turned out Sunday.
It was the 16th consecutive year the walk and race has been held in Bangor to raise money for breast cancer research.
For 10 of those years, sisters Freida Peasley and Brenda Condon, both of Brooksville, and Claudia Smith of Penobscot have been part of the team Toast of the Coast, based in Blue Hill. For most of those years, Peasley’s four grandchildren, Harlie Burke, 15, Nick Burke, 14, Hoyt Hutchins, 13, and Cora Hutchins, 10, all of Brooklyn, have joined her and her siblings as they did Sunday.
“No one in our immediate family has had breast cancer, but my husband passed away from cancer,” Peasley said. “It’s a good thing to do.”
“Now it’s become a tradition,” Smith added.
Mary Baker of Stacyville has participated in the race with family members for seven years, but Sunday’s event was different.
“We just lost my sister last October,” she said. “It always been special to be here, but this year it is especially touching.”
Beverly Baker Hodges of Eddington died Oct. 24 at the age of 50, according to her obituary published in the Bangor Daily News.
About 4,500 participated this year, executive director Sally Bilancia said in a press released issued Sunday night. Financial results were not available “because participants have a few more weeks to fundraise and send in pledges,” she said.
Last year about 5,000 people took part in the race and more than $300,000 was raised, according to Bilancia. The third race in Portland, held last weekend, attracted 1,100 participants and raised more than $100,000.
Bilancia said Sunday morning that she did not expected to top last year’s record attendance and fundraising due to the sluggish economy.
The first Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure was held 28 years ago in Dallas, Texas, and Bangor’s first race was held in 1997. Since then, the Maine affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure has raised more than $2.6 million.
Seventy-five percent of the money raised remains in Maine for education, screenings and treatment. The other 25 percent goes to fund research. About $500,000 in research grants has been awarded to Maine facilities working to cure breast cancer, according to Bilancia.