News From Terre Haute, Indiana

October 2, 2011

VIDEO: Nearly 3,000 join fight with Komen Race for the Cure

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The color pink covered the downtown streets on a chilly morning Saturday, as thousands gathered to Race for the Cure.

Nearly 3,000 participants joined in the 15th Annual Komen Race for the Cure, raising an estimated $25,000 for the fight against breast cancer. Streets surrounding the downtown area were blocked off as multi-faceted events centered around Wabash Avenue between Eighth and Fourth streets.

The morning’s sunny sky was a bit deceptive as temperatures bounced about the 50-degree mark. Streams of people wearing pink sweatshirts and long-sleeve T-shirts meandered about between the 8:30 a.m. check-in period and the 10 a.m. race start.

Jill Ferres, chair of the 2011 race, said the morning’s weather was a bit chilly but nice, certainly better than the icy rain which fell in 2010. Thousands of participants had pre-registered for the annual fundraiser, and more were coming in that morning, she said.

“It’s very exciting,” she remarked amid the music emanating from 100.7 Mix FM’s mobile station. Children danced in the street wearing pink feather boas while holding signs in support of the cause. “And emotional. I’ve been very emotional,” Ferres added.

The grass in front of the Vigo County School Corp.’s headquarters was lined with paper flowers dedicated to cancer survivors and victims. Named “Rachel’s Garden of Hope,” donors could sponsor flowers on behalf of friends and family for $5.

Mary Umphries explained the display is hosted in honor of Rachel Drake, a former organizer with the Susan G. Komen Wabash Valley affiliate. Drake, she said, was first diagnosed with cancer when she was in her late 20s, just after giving birth to her son.

“She lost her battle with cancer two years ago,” she said, describing her friend’s work as inspirational to others. “And she never gave up hope.”

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett and his wife Pam served as honorary co-chairs of this year’s race, each decked out for the cause.

“I think this is one of the best organized, and growing events in the Wabash Valley,” the mayor said before proclaiming October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” in Terre Haute. The fact that his wife is nearing her seventh year as a cancer survivor herself makes the event more meaningful to his family, he said atop the main stage in front of Crossroads Plaza.

Pam, too, expressed her gratitude in being named an honorary co-chair of the event, adding the title in which she takes the most pride is “survivor.”

Inflated bounce houses and giant balloons lined Wabash Avenue as participants prepared for the race itself. The annual 5K run kicked off at 10 a.m., followed by non-competitive runners and a 1K walk.

Scott Mullins, 37, came in first out of 202 competitors in the 5K race with a time of 16:28. The Terre Haute resident works at Terre Haute Regional Hospital’s oncology and radiation department as a radiation therapist and medical dosimetrist.

“Mainly to come out and support the Race for a Cure,” he said of his reasons for running.

Alyssa Lozier finished first among women with a time of 20:42.78.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@


More events coming up

Check it out: Union Hospital will host educational programs and screenings on Tuesdays during October for cancer patients in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month from 9 to 11 a.m. and 12:30-2:30 p.m. in the main lobby of the Hux Cancer Center at 1711 N. 61⁄2 St. The month of events kicked off Saturday with turning the Hux Cancer Center pink with special lighting placed around the front of the building.

• On Tuesday, the Union Hospital Clara Fairbanks Center for Women Boutique will offer information and free bone density heel scan tests.

• Oct. 11 will feature the American Cancer Society information and free finger nail polish changes.

• On Oct. 18 Union Hospital Concierge Services will provide information to cancer patients about the errands they can run for them during their treatments and Nutritional Services will provide free healthy snack.

• The activities will wrap up Oct. 25 with the introduction of the new STAR Cancer Survivorship program and complimentary hand massages.

More to know: Union Hospital’s Clara Fairbanks Center for Women encourages women who are 40-plus years old to schedule an annual mammogram. The Center, which Union Hospital opened in 1996, provides women of the Wabash Valley with many services including mammography, biopsy, bone density scanning, and a variety of prosthesis and care products for women with cancer. The Center is American College of Radiology accredited in mammography. The Center now has three convenient locations and is the No. 1 provider of mammography services for the women of the Wabash Valley, providing more than 12,000 mammograms each year.