On Saturday, Oct. 13, more than 9,000 breast cancer survivors and supporters will converge at UofL’s ShelbyHurst Campus for the 23rd annual Race for the Cure. The annual fundraiser is hosted by Susan G. Komen Kentucky, a nonprofit that works to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in the state and serves 107 counties in Kentucky and four in Southern Indiana.
Lynda Weeks serves as the executive director of Susan G. Komen Kentucky, and she tells Insider that by all indications, they are on track to beat last year’s attendance records.
With startling statistics such as one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime — and one in 1,000 men — raising funds is pertinent to the organization’s mission of supporting global breast cancer research and providing local programs and services that benefit people here.
Weeks says that while overall awareness of the disease has grown in recent years, there is still more work to be done.
“Many people still believe that ‘Breast cancer only affects older women,’ or ‘If it doesn’t run in my family, I’m safe.’ However, breast cancer has no barriers. It affects women and men of all ages and all ethnicities,” she notes.
Race for the Cure also gives survivors a chance to connect, share stories and make new friends, and there’s even a Survivor Parade of Pink held before the race, which Weeks says she’s most looking forward to.
“During this event, survivors walk in celebration of their survivorship, she says. “People extend so much compassion and support for each other — it’s quite emotional.”
The national Susan G. Komen organization is working toward its Bold Goal, which is to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the United States by 50 percent by 2026. And Weeks says the Kentucky chapter is helping accomplish that goal by focusing its efforts on funding metastatic breast cancer research, reducing disparities and providing breast health education.
She also says that for every $1 donated to the nonprofit, 75 percent goes to programs and services and 25 percent goes to funding breast cancer research. Komen Kentucky also helps fund patient navigation, transportation and treatment support.
“The best research in the world cannot save lives if people don’t have access to it,” says Weeks. “We’re working to eliminate disparities so that everyone can have access to breast cancer screenings and treatment. We believe that where you live should not determine if you live.”
Race for the Cure is a 5K run or one-mile walk that takes place on Saturday, Oct. 13, at 9 a.m. at UofL’s ShelbyHurst Campus, 450 N. Whittington Pkwy. Registration opens at 7 a.m., and the Survivor Parade of Pink will take place at 8:30 a.m.
Before Weeks prepares to herd more than 9,000 participants on Saturday, we asked her some very important questions …
What’s the most surprising thing on your Bucket List?
To sail the Caribbean. Preferably with Captain Jack Sparrow.
What poster was on your wall in junior high?
Degas’ “Dancers” and The Beatles. I still love ballet and The Beatles.
If you were mayor, to whom would you give the key to the city?
If I could give the key to the city to anyone, it would have to be our Susan G. Komen Kentucky Board President Bob Iezzi. Bob is one of the most compassionate, genuine and charitable people I know, in addition to his endless list of business successes.
His commitment to our organization and the fight to end breast cancer is inspiring, and he’s truly one of Louisville’s unsung heroes.
What are your preferred pizza toppings?
Extra cheese and jalapeño peppers.
If you could be any age for a week, what would it be?
I would be 4 years old again, and it would be the week of Christmas, when the magic of Santa Claus was real. I think that’s when people seemed most kind and generous.
What famous person do people say you resemble the most?
When I was younger, people said I looked like Olivia Newton-John.
Who would you most like to be stuck with in an elevator?
It would have to be a large elevator, because I would like to reassemble the 2004 World Series Champions the Boston Red Sox and listen to them reminisce about the final moments of Game 4, when they swept the Cardinals in St. Louis and ended an 86-year drought to win the 2004 World Series.
That team was iconic — so quirky and fun to watch. I’m a huge fan.