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Race for the Cure to benefit breast cancer programs in Maine

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
Breast cancer survivors wave to the thousands of people who gathered for the 13th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure during the survivor ceremony on the Bangor Waterfront in September 2009. The 15th annual race will begin 10 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, on the Bangor Waterfront.
By Meg Haskell, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Thousands of breast cancer survivors and their supporters will take to the streets this Sunday morning, Sept. 18, for the 15th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The 5K event for walkers and runners of all abilities will get under way at 10 a.m. on the Bangor Waterfront.

Last year’s race drew about 400 breast cancer survivors among a total of about 5,600 participants from throughout the state, according to event co-chairwoman and breast cancer survivor Michele Rowles. The event raised about $330,000.

“I am always so amazed at the support we get from Bangor and the surrounding communities,” the 53-year-old Brewer resident said.

This year, she hopes even more will sign up. As of Wednesday afternoon, about 2,500 people had registered for the Bangor event.

Another Komen race took place just last weekend in Portland, marking that city’s second annual Race for the Cure fundraiser. Until two years ago, the national Susan G. Komen Foundation allowed only one event in Maine,  Rowles said. Now, participants have two Maine sites to choose from, she said, although many dedicated supporters likely will take part in both.

Participants can sign up the day of the run beginning at 7:30 a.m. But Rowles encourages preregistration at the Komen Foundation storefront, located inside the Bangor Mall near the entrance to J.C. Penney. The storefront will be open from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Preregistration is $25, compared with $30 the morning of the race.

About 75 percent of the money raised in the Bangor Race for the Cure each year stays in Maine, Rowles said, and is used for breast cancer education, screening, treatment and support. The balance is dedicated to breast cancer research.

“Once a cure is found for one form of cancer, it will lead to cures in other forms of cancer,” she said.

The Komen foundation is not behind a rash of popular bumper stickers, posters and other messages with slightly scurrilous slogans such as “Save the Ta-Tas” and “Feel Your Boobies,” Rowles said, but there’s no harm in taking a lighter tone toward the serious subject of breast cancer.

“Humor is really important,” she said. “A diagnosis of breast cancer is not the death sentence it once was.”

The important message is this, Rowles said: Early detection is key to beating breast cancer, through education, monthly self-exams and, for women 40 and older, yearly mammograms.

For information, visit the website of the Maine chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that a portion of the money raised by the Race for the Cure funds research into different kinds of cancer. Only breast cancer research is funded by this money.

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