Health Team

Raleigh Komen 'Krew' raises more than $350K to battle cancer

Posted October 19, 2016 3:34 p.m. EDT
Updated October 19, 2016 6:14 p.m. EDT

The success of the Susan G. Komen Foundation's work to fight breast cancer depends on teams.

Fundraising comes largely through teams of donors, and often those teams begin with a family affected by breast cancer.

One of the most successful teams do it is in memory of Kristi Walker, whose smiling face is on the team's Carolina Blue shirts.

The shirts are worn by Kristi's Krew—a leading fundraising team for the past several years at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Raleigh.

"We want to honor Kristi's name, and we want to remember her as a wonderful young woman that she was," said Walker's mother Anne Winters. "A wonderful wife and mother and daughter."

Walker's parents, Mike and Anne Winters, said they were excited about the coming birth of Kristi and her husband's third son in 2008, but there were problems.

"She started to have a lot of back pain and hip pain," Anne Winters said.

At first, doctors discounted it as the baby pushing on a nerve, but an emergency C-section at UNC Hospitals revealed cancer in her liver, which had spread from her breasts.

"But her pregnancy symptoms masked the cancer, and so the doctors had no idea," Anne Winters said.

The cancer took Walker's life in February 2009. She was 30 years old.

Her death, though, inspired her family to fight back against breast cancer by organizing a fundraising team.

"We began reaching out and contacted friends, family, clients, shamelessly trying to get people to join that team and raise funds for the Komen cause," said Mike Winters.

They've raised more than $350,000, and now Komen honors the couple as More than Pink Heroes for their work.

Komen puts money back into the community and helps women in need. Teams like Kristi's Krew inspire others to increase their efforts, which means even more money is raised.

The money also helps underserved women get free screening in the communities where they live.

For those who are diagnosed, they can get help with transportation to the nearest treatment centers.