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Hundreds of people filled Military Park Saturday to form a community of strength in the fight against breast cancer.
From a wheelchair, 90-year-old Joreen Caldwell smiled and waved as she celebrated 65 years of survival. Crossing the finish line in a wheelchair on the other side of Military Park Ivy McConnell celebrated five days of survival.
Both women were among hundreds of survivors of breast cancer at Saturday’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Friends and family members joined the women forming a blanket of pink warming the cool April morning.
This year’s event raised more than $600,000 toward 40,000 cancer care and education services in 41 counties. The overall goal of the race is to raise enough funds to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths by 50 percent. More than 2,000 Central Indiana women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually and it is estimated more than 400 will die of the disease.
This year marked the 28th annual Race for the Cure. Teams of friends and family members joined hands as they crossed the finish line – with team names like “Faithful Friends,” “Guardian of Girls,” and “Treasure Your Chest.” Team IU Health raised nearly $4,000 and IU Health Corporate Team raised more than $12,000.
Dressed from head to toe in pink – including a wig and tennis shoes– Wade Greegor, known as “Pink Crusader” left his home in Louisville, KY. at 3 a.m. to join the race. Crystal Sanders painted her nails pink for her tenth year of participating in the race. Her sister Rachonna Lang joined her. Another crew of 35 – team “Hello Titty” ranged in age from 74 to six months. They were walking for family members.
Four-year-old Jax Walls and his brother Jett walked with their mother, Courtney Manley - in honor of their grandma Deanna Manley, a 20-year survivor. The boys had their hair dyed pink and they wore shirts that read: “For My Di Di.”
Monica Pagac is a two-and-half year survivor. She was joined by her husband Zack and children Lexi, 12; Hunter, 9 and Cora, 3.
Caldwell figures she may be one of the oldest survivors and one of the longest-living survivors.
“I survived two strokes to come here and walk one more year,” she said.
Ninety years is a long time and 65 years is too.”
-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health. Reach Banes via email firstname.lastname@example.org.