Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

I thoroughly enjoyed walking in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this morning in downtown Cincinnati.  Although it had been quite a few years since I last participated, today’s experience was very much like previous times. The chilly drizzle at the outset did not dampen the spirit of hope and celebration among the crowd. Crossing back over the Ohio River on the Central Bridge provided a panoramic view encompassing thousands of pink-attired folks, many at the finish to our left and still more behind us on the route crossing into Kentucky on the Purple People Bridge to our right.  I found myself wishing that Archbishop Schnurr could have been there to witness the power of this event.  He and other bishops have said that Catholic groups may not support the Komen Race due to concerns about funds being used to support embryonic stem cell research.  The Komen Foundation has not given money for this purpose before but does not exclude it as a possibility.  The Race for the Cure does more than raise money.  It brings breast cancer into the public view in ways that are helpful and pastoral.  I wonder if the archbishop would think differently if he observed the signs people of all ages had pinned to the backs of their shirts stating they were walking or running “in memory of” or “in celebration of” specific women in their lives who have had breast cancer.  Many listed multiple names. Most touching to me was a boy about eight years old running “in memory of my mom.”  Bald women or women in head scarves walked the course too, warriors of courage and strength.  At moments I found myself starting to choke up.  I was lucky to be with a team celebrating the successful breast cancer surgery of my sister-in-law Joni just this past spring.  We wore bright pink t-shirts adorned with plastic jewels and colorful ribbons that reflected her vibrant presence in our lives.  At the finish, she and two others in the group entered the designated survivor lane to receive medals.  The Race for the Cure’s goal is to raise money for research and services in the future, but in the present it remembers those who have died, rallies around those who suffer, and affirms life for survivors.  I say, amen!

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