(Charlotte, N.C.) — October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month and many people in the Charlotte area kicked off the month by completing the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Oct. 6.
The race, which occurs annually, brings out thousands of participants and volunteers who have either survived breast cancer or are honoring a loved one who has battled the disease.
Racers wore bright pink ribbons, bandannas, tutus and glasses in honor of breast cancer awareness.
“You look out today and there are 20,000 people here,” said Hayley Pierce, a volunteer and coordinator of the event. “I think the goal is we work until there is a 100 percent survival rate and every single event we have puts us closer to that.”
According to the Susan G. Komen Charlotte website, one in eight women and one in 100 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime.
Fundraising efforts and events, such as the Race for the Cure, contribute to cancer research and provide resources to those who need it.
The event has also inspired many cancer survivors to come join the race in the name of awareness.
“I am excited to be at the walk this year,” said Jennifer Kopald, an author and breast cancer survivor. “I saw (anchor) Molly Grantham on WBTV and her passion about the cause. As a breast cancer survivor, I was inspired to sign up for the Komen walk.”
Kopald, who has been cancer free for 7.5 years, wrote a novel titled “The Beast and the Beauty of Breast Cancer: Finding Peace in the Valley of Suffering.”
The book, like the walk she participated in, serves as a reminder of the strength of breast cancer victims and survivors.
Volunteers from various organizations, including the Girl Scouts and the Winthrop Chapter of Gamma Beta Phi, also attended the race to support the cause.
“I’m very excited to volunteer,” said Angel Winchester, a Winthrop student. “My aunt actually died from breast cancer, so this is actually something very honorable for me.”
Volunteers greeted the racers, handed out bandannas and other trinkets from sponsors and cheered on those who crossed the finish line.
The Race for the Cure is just one of the many events the Susan G. Komen Foundation hosts in order to raise awareness and funding for those with breast cancer.
As a result of the race, the foundation has raised almost $800,000 of its $1 million dollar goal.