Founder of Triangle Komen chapter remembered
Posted January 23, 2009 5:49 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT
Pittsboro, N.C. — More than 400 longtime friends, family members and coworkers turned out Friday to pay their respects to the founder of the Triangle affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, who died earlier this week after a 14-month battle with lymphoma.
An avid runner and breast cancer survivor, Jeanne Peck, 52, founded the chapter in 1997 with the belief that the annual fundraiser race held all across the nation would be successful in the Triangle in helping find a cure for the disease.
"Jeanne never claimed that the race was just hers," longtime friend Diane Groff said after Friday's memorial service. "See, Jeane allowed us all to see that the race was ours."
Since 1997, the race, which is held every June at Meredith College, has grown to 24,000 registered participants and has raised approximately $12 million for research. It is recognized as the largest 5K event in North Carolina and one of the 25 largest Race for the Cure events in the world.
The chapter has awarded more than $7.5 million in community grants and more than $2.5 million in research since 1997. Each year, the grants affect thousands of lives, particularly those of uninsured and underinsured women. In 2008, community grants served close to 20,000 North Carolinians.
"She's inspired so many people," Groff said. "There are countless numbers of people that will do anything to make sure that this race lives on."
Kathy Burns, the local board president, said Peck had a contagious spirit and that her passion and commitment will continue to be the cornerstone on which the Triangle organization was founded.
"Jeanne Peck's bold commitment to changing the status quo of breast cancer was unyielding. Her courage, her spirit and her compassion were something to believe in. It was infectious," Burns said.
"She gave people the inspiration to go on and believe that with passion there can also be hope. She was our hero in the truest sense of the word."