The 2011 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has come and gone. The city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri, along with surrounding states, take great pride in making this event the biggest of its kind in the United States every year, with New York’s walk in Central Park coming in second.
What is the Komen Race for the Cure? It is the largest series of 5K runs/fitness walks in the world. Of all proceeds raised locally from the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure, a minimum of 25 percent goes to national breast cancer research, and up to 75 percent stays in St. Louis to help organizations provide breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs.
There were runners who battled and competed and finished the race as if it were a sprint. Others like myself walked the 5K Run/Walk (3.1 miles), and many did the one-mile walk that began shortly after the 5K Race/Walk. While there were more than 64,000 participants, and donations are still rolling in, to date they have raised over $3 million in the fight against breast cancer from this past weekend alone.
If you couldn’t join in on the run/walk, there is another way to participate and donate: by sleeping. That’s right, sleep for the cure. For those with extremely busy lifestyles or travel schedules, sleep in and still show your support through donations for the women who struggle with this terrible disease called breast cancer.
While many corporations formed teams to compete and raise funds for the cure, others arrived in downtown St. Louis by 6:30 a.m. for race-day registration. Participants invaded the city via cars, buses, motor homes and the Metrolink. There was a Survivor Pavilion, local bands playing, team photos and aerobic warm-up sessions as well. People showed up in droves, from families to friends. They walked, used wheelchairs and wielded crutches. The young and old, the ethnically diverse, united for a common cause.
Participants carried signs of “I’m a Survivor,” “I walk for my mother and three Aunts,” “I lost my Wife,” “I’m walking in memory of my daughter” and “I’m a 34 year Survivor.” These were just a few of the ones that struck my daughter Alexis and me. Meanwhile, NFL owners and players are struggling to divide revenue of over 9 billion dollars. This disease really puts life in its proper perspective.
The Rams have been involved with the Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure since the event began in 1999. Team Georgia was introduced in 2008 in honor of Georgia Frontiere, who passed away on Jan. 18 of that year. This NFL owner relocated the Rams from Southern California after 49 years and brought the team to her native nest of St. Louis. She created a legacy as an NFL owner, winning and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XXXIV. A philanthropist and humanitarian, she donated time, love and tears – not to mention generous amounts of money – to many charitable organizations, such as Children Charity, The Fulfillment St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and countless others.
Georgia’s biggest battle ultimately came in the form of cancer, not the NFL. She was courageous and committed to keeping the focus on the team and organization. Her passions were music, singing, poetry and, of course, her players over the years. I was honored to have worked for Georgia for three years, and she was always kind to my family and me.
Since 2008, the Komen Race for the Cure has beaten every other city in the United States in terms of participants and donations.
Year Participants St. Louis Donations
2008 64,007 $3,300,000
2009 66,470 $3,250,000
2010 71,802 $3,400,000
The Rams’ organization continues to set the bar in honor of a great lady who did so much for this state and its people. Team Georgia participation has included event sponsors and players serving as honorary chairs (Kurt Warner, D’Marco Farr and Steven Jackson). In Team Georgia’s three years of existence, it has helped raise more than $55,000 for breast cancer research. Over the weekend, Rams cheerleaders dressed up in game-day shorts and team jerseys, pumping up the crowd prior to the race and handing out long stem pink roses to all survivors as they crossed the finish line.
While Rams players were not present for this great event last Saturday, Sam Bradford, Ron Bartell and James Laurianitis were busy organizing and participating in player organized team workouts in Arizona.
A source told me: “We are getting great work down here and were bonding as a team.” He also went on to say that the weather was incredible – 95-100 degrees, with no clouds or humidity. The next location for player workouts has not been announced, but I’m sure they will be more and private as well. As another source said, “Once this lockout is over we will be ready both mentally and physically.”
While the complete morning, especially the walk, is a wonderful event, crossing the finish line and watching the survivors hug friends and family members, including kids and grandkids, sons and daughters, and brothers and sisters, really chokes you up. It was my third walk for a cure, and the “finish line,” rife with tears of joy and eternal hope, is a memory I will carry with me for the rest of my life.