By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
THOUSANDS of participants gathered on Church Street wearing pink on the weekend for the Susan G Komen Bahamas Race For The Cure. Some people ran, others walked and jogged in honour of loved ones who passed away from breast cancer.
Cancer survivors were also out in full force to participate in the worthy cause.
Sunshine Insurance, in its role as the lead sponsor and organiser for Marathon Bahamas, fostered the strategic partnership between Marathon Bahamas and Susan G Komen for the Cure to stage the race weekend. One hundred percent of the money raised by the Race for the Cure will remain in the Bahamas to fund breast cancer and women’s health programmes, according to the organisers.
For Caroline Johnson, taking part in the event was something she believes will make a change one day.
“I believe in the cause and that is why I take part in the race every year without even thinking twice. Cancer is a very nasty disease and if I could walk to raise money and find a way to come together in finding a cure, then I am all for it. I might not have cancer, but no one knows what the future hold. So now and years to come, I will stay dedicated to assisting in this movement,” the Bahamian told Tribune Health.
Andrea Sweeting, president of the Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group, said being apart of the race is always very exciting for her. She said it is a good feeling to know that the women can experience what they see on television, the thousands, sometimes millions of persons who participate in similar international events.
“It is truly an elated feeling to know that you are taking part in it and helped organise it. Events like this can create more awareness because that is what the message has to be, to get it out there to persons who need to know what is important. And that is, early detection truly saves lives and the earlier, the better we will all be. I am really excited that the public took on this event in the manner in which they did,” said Ms Sweeting.
Denika Kemp said her participation in the race was very close to her heart. “When I hear the word cancer, it is like sticks in my spine, because it is that painful. A few years ago, I had a little baby cousin that passed away due to this terrible life threatening disease.
It took her away from us and I always pray to God that one day, a cure can be discovered and found. Too many people suffer and die because of this illness, and it is unfortunate. Thank God for organisations like Susan G Komen, that constantly make an effort and won’t give up,” said Ms Kemp.
Veronica Duncanson, Marathon Bahamas executive vice president, said the race was sold out days before the event, and they were very happy about that. She said the highlight of the race was welcoming and celebrating the breast cancer survivors.
“The survivors recognition ceremony after the race was the focus point of the entire event and it celebrated the cancer survivors,” she said.
“Breast Cancer is very prevalent in the Bahamas, with our statistics being the highest, globally. And so this race provided an opportunity for us to celebrate the persons who can really say they are heroes. Our numbers in the race indicated that it was larger than last year’s race, and that is by way of participants and breast cancer survivors,” said Ms Duncanson.
Being the first time the race went over the Paradise Island Bridge under its new name, the Sir Sidney Poitier Bridge, Ms Duncanson said Pamela Poiter, who is Sir Sidney’s daughter, led the race with the honourary chairperson Willie Moss.
“I think race for the cure presents an opportunity for Bahamians from all walks of life to contribute to organisations that focus on cancer, specifically breast cancer. Breast cancer affects the vast majority of families in the Bahamas. All of the funds raised, are distributed to the five cancer charities in the Bahamas: The Cancer Society of the Bahamas, Sister Sister Breast Cancer Support Group, Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative, the Princess Margaret Foundation and the Cancer Association of Grand Bahama,” said Ms Duncanson.
She said the feeling is gratifying to know that you did your best to assist with a worthy cause, as well as assist people you know, in terms of the charities doing their best to deal with this disease called cancer. At the end of the day when the race is finish, MsDuncansan said people feel great.
“It warmed my heart to see all of those people show up and take part. It was a fun and energetic way to get some exercise. Walking with my friends in a group made it all better. I was tired but we all made it to the finish line,” said Carole, a local participant.