June 12th, 2004.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Race for the Cure.
If collective human energy can make a difference, then this event will help achieve change. We can feel the energy vibrating through the streets of St Louis, as 55,000-plus runners and walkers, and all the sponsors and organizers focus their efforts on this common goal: how to find a cure for this deadly disease, which can, and does, strike indiscriminately, regardless of age or race.
Our family did this run and walk two years ago, but we see today that an already big event got much bigger. The many sponsors (including such diverse ones as the St Louis Post Dispatch, Annheuser-Busch, KEZK 102.5 soft rock, St Louis Bread Co, Yoplait, Ford, New Balance, Silk Soymilk) have set up tents, booths, and stalls around the square and the blocked-off streets near the starting area, and people mill around, unsure of where to go. The runners walk to the general direction of the starting point, and I assume they go, even though I don’t hear a start gun. I am a walker, one of so many that we can’t tell if we’ve reached the beginning yet. I, and thousands of others, just flow along in the sea of people, down this street, then on that one, and at some point we realize that we must be on the official walk. We shuffle along, as the streets are too crowded to actually race.
The city is awash in pink, and bunny ears. Pink balloons, pink banners, pink signs. Individuals, young, old, men, women, in-shape and not, are all out there trying. Many groups are walking together for a special person, her name on a banner or placard, united by this common bond and by their special group T-shirts. Pink signs pinned on backs proclaim, “I’m running in memory of (Jenny)”, “(Mary T) is a survivor”, or “I’m racing for my wife/mother/sister”. One said, “I’m racing for me. I’m a survivor”.
The energy, goodwill and determination flow with the river of bodies, heart-warming. There is something uplifting and exhilarating about being part of such a huge group, all out this morning with a common purpose. There’s something very touching about a young band on one corner, serenading the passing crowd, and the lone kilted piper standing on the edge of the Mississippi River, piping, smiling, cheering everyone on.
Our family all finish well, although that was not the real reason for entering. Kids run under sprinkling fire hoses, set up by the Fire Department, or pose with members of the local Rams Football team. People grab another bottle of water, eat a banana, or are enticed into indulging in a free hamburger, the smell of barbecuing meat wafting over the sidewalks.
We remember those who’ve died from breast cancer, and are grateful for those still surviving. Hopefully, lots of money was raised today to help those to come.
Race For the Cure
Friday, July 30, 2004 by viviennemackie
June 12th, 2004.