March 22, 2019
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Relatives honor family members who’ve had breast cancer at Bangor race

BANGOR, Maine — Sammi Thayer of Glenburn on Sunday participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure decked out in a pink T-shirt.

The 16-year-old, who ran in the 5K race to raise money for breast cancer research, customized her shirt to honor her grandmother Vanessa Poole.

The message Thayer penned said: “Cancer touched her breast, so she kicked its ass!”

“She’s been cancer free for a year and a half,” the teen, who participated in the fundraiser with the Bangor High School junior varsity girls soccer team, said. “I do this race to honor my grandmother.”

Many people Sunday printed the names of family and friends who had been lost to or survived breast cancer on their race bibs.

Hana Charette, 23, of Stacyville and Matt Bonney, 25, of Belfast sprayed pink dye in their hair to match the pink clothing they wore. They were part of Team Baker, which included Charette’s mother, Mary Baker, 48, and grandmother Ardis Baker, 77.

“I caused all this,” Ardis Baker, who has been tested and carries the gene for breast cancer, said. “Two of my daughters died of breast cancer, and I had it last year.”

Beverly Hodges died in 2011 at the age of 50, and Bonnie Germain died in 1991 at the age of 34. The family also has lost three other relatives to the disease.

Baker’s name was listed on the Team Baker T-shirt as a survivor this year.

“I think this event is wonderful because it raises money to help people who don’t have insurance,” she said. “They don’t leave nobody out. It’s a good cause.”

Seventy-five percent of the money raised remains in Maine for education, screenings and treatment to help those who don’t have insurance or are underinsured. The other 25 percent goes to fund research.

About 2,500 people turned out for Sunday’s race, according to Michael Kelley, who served as co-chairman of the event with Kellie Rexrode.

Final participant numbers and the amount of money raised this year won’t be available until October, Rexrode said. Last year, the event brought in $250,000.

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 about $3 million.

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