The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure will kick off its 19th annual Pittsburgh run this morning on Mother's Day.
Today, an estimated 30,000 participants and 300 volunteers will come together on Flagstaff Hill in Oakland's Schenley Park to help raise funds for those affected by breast cancer, with the ultimate goal of finding a cure.
Kathy Purcell, executive director of the of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has been calling the shots since 2008. This is her fourth race.
“It’s really become a Mother’s Day tradition here in Pittsburgh," she said. "We feel very supported by the community, and it really allows us to continue to do our work.”
In addition to the 5K run/walk that kicks off at 8:35 a.m., there will be a Zumba warm up at 7:15 a.m., a Kid’s Dash held near the stage at 7:45 a.m. for children 6 and younger, a Survivor’s Parade at 8 a.m., and a one-mile fun walk at 8:45 a.m.
Participants who are a bit more competitive and who would like to be eligible for prizes must be wearing a timing chip on their shoes. Registration for the 5K chip-timed run will end at 8:35 a.m.
Although the race is the focal point of the day, its organizers realize that a run or a walk isn’t for everyone. Two years ago they started the Sleep In for the Cure, an event for participants who do not plan on showing up the day of the race but still want to support the cause.
This year, Sleep in for the Cure was a success, with more than 500 participants signed up to relax in the name of a good cause.
Race for the Cure is the organization’s largest fundraiser of the year and is needed by the organization to help local cancer patients, survivors and families. Purcell said she is proud to point out that of the $2 million raised annually, 75 percent of the money stays within 30 counties in Pennsylvania, with the other 25 percent going to national research efforts.
“We usually fund anywhere from 10 to 25 grants through the year," Purcell said. "Our largest grant is the mammogram voucher program, which allows women who are un- or under-insured to get a mammogram."
Volunteers will help participants register today, starting at 6:30am. All registered participants will get a white race T-shirt, and all registered survivors also will get a pink Survivor hat and T-shirt.
For more information about the race or the Pittsburgh affiliate of Susan G. Komen, visitwww.komenpittsburgh.org.
Donations may be made online at, http://www.komenpittsburgh.org/make-a-donation/ or mailed to Pittsburgh affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, 1133 S. Braddock Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15218.