Cancer treatments left Austin resident Nancy Thibert too weak to walk the 5K route at Sunday’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Instead, she sat at the finish line to support her family and other participants.
“I come here every year to show my support for the cause,” Thibert said.
Thibert underwent a single mastectomy, the result of a breast cancer diagnosis three years ago.
She said both of her daughters-in-law were diagnosed with cancer — the first with breast cancer in March and the second with brain and lung cancer in June, when she was pregnant. The baby was delivered two months premature and is now doing fine, Thibert said.
“We all help each other,” said Thibert, whose sons and daughters-in-law walked in the race. “We depend on each other for support and guidance.”
More than 20,000 people walked the Austin race at the Domain shopping center, the 13th held in the city, to raise money for breast cancer research.
Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which started as a 700-member foundation, is now the world’s largest breast cancer organization. Since its inception in 1982, the group has raised $1 billion toward breast cancer research, screening and treatment programs. The organization has 12 affiliates in Texas, including offices in Austin and San Antonio, with its state headquarters in Dallas.
The Austin affiliate raised $741,000 of its $1.2 million goal. The organization will accept donations for the race on their website until Nov. 30.
About 75 percent of the money raised in the Austin race will help fund organizations that provide breast health education and breast cancer treatment programs for women without health insurance, according to the group’s website. The remaining 25 percent supports the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grants Program, which funds breast cancer research, meritorious awards and educational programs around the world.
“This is a way for people to come together and show their support for a disease that affects or will affect all of us in some way,” said race co-chair Kheira Ardjani.
Breast cancer is a widespread disease that randomly afflicts women and men of all ages and races. About 1.3 million people are diagnosed annually, which makes breast cancer the most prevalent form of cancer in the world today, according to the foundation’s website.
An estimated one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Cathy Ramoin, diagnosed with breast cancer last summer, strongly encouraged women to get regular mammograms to catch the cancer before it reaches the later stages.
“To everyone struggling with cancer of all forms, keep your spirits up,” Ramoin said. “It can only beat you if you let it beat you. There is a network of survivors ready to support you. If you [have] seen someone who has fallen, pick them up.”