Every year, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation of Central New York strives to surpass itself.
"We raised over $500,000 last year and more than 6,500 people participated," said Kate Flannery, executive director of Komen CNY, before the 2007 event. "That is an increase of more than 20 percent over last year, and our goal is to surpass last year."
This year, Komen CNY reached that goal. Over 7,000 people took part in the 2007 Race for the Cure, held Saturday May 19 at the Fairgrounds. Komen CNY staffers are still tallying the money raised, and donations are still being accepted. Money from the Race for the Cure goes toward grants, 21 at last count, to provide education, treatment and assistance in the battle against cancer.
Flannery, who was co-director of Vera House before taking her current position a year ago, said breast cancer touches everyone's lives.
"Everyone is affected at some point," she said. "It can be someone's mother, sister, cousin, wife. This race is so important for a number of reasons. It is not only a way to raise money, but an educational and awareness opportunity that is very powerful and shows community support and advocacy. Clearly, our goal is to raise money to fight this disease, but our goal is also to come together as a community in strength and support."
Among those who ran in this year's race were two groups from Liverpool schools. Geren Gagliardi, a fourth grade teacher, led Willow Field Elementary's Running Club in the run; Chestnut Hill Middle's Larisa Farlin and Soule Road Middle's Jennifer Caples also put together a team. Both Gagliardi and Farlin said while they enjoy running, the Race for the Cure offered an opportunity to share something important with the kids -- something beyond the rush of the race.