Health Team

Lifelong bonds form for Race for the Cure participants

Posted June 13, 2008 5:25 p.m. EDT
Updated June 13, 2008 9:03 p.m. EDT

— The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is more than just a fundraiser. It is an annual reunion for breast cancer survivors.

They are “vivacious, strong, courageous women with a lot to share,” Julie McQueen said.

McQueen is the facilitator for a group of breast cancer survivors who meet every week at Duke Raleigh Health.

“It's been great. We talk about a lot of things. We hang out together. We went on a cruise together in March,” breast cancer survivor Karen Drumm said.

McQueen helps women through their first breast cancer tests and their treatments after diagnosis. She is a breast cancer survivor.

“We stay with them throughout their course of treatment and really beyond,” McQueen added.

The women also take part in the Komen Race for the Cure every year at Meredith College. This will be Drumm's second race since her diagnosis two years ago.

“I can't even tell you what it's like to walk out on Hillsborough Street and see all those people walking ahead of you,” Drumm added.

It's a day of strong emotions – and for many, a realization that something they thought would be life-shattering has become life-affirming.

It is “something that you don't want to experience, but if you have to, it was a really overwhelming, beneficial experience to me,” Drumm said.

“I don't say to them, 'Oh, this is going to be a good thing in your life.' People learn that on their own, in their own time, in their own way,” McQueen said.

Funds raised during the Komen Race for the Cure support the Komen vision of a world without breast cancer. Up to 75 percent of the net income from each race stays in the community to fund local breast-health education and breast cancer screening and treatment.