The second annual Northeast Arkansas Komen Race for the Cure this year will focus more on taking action than being aware.
“More Than Pink through Education” is the theme of this year’s race which is set to kick off again at the Arkansas State University Jonesboro campus. Race officials at the press conference said the goal this year is to raise $300,000. Matt Probst is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Arkansas Susan G. Komen. He told KASU News the dollars raised from the event go toward educating residents in counties where breast cancer rates are the highest in Arkansas.
"Northeast Arkansas has 5 of the 9 counties that we target as 'most in need'," Probst said. "We looked at many things [such as] screening rates, incidence rates, late-stage diagnosis, and the death rate."
Probst said the counties that were most in need were St. Francis, Sharp, Izard, Randolph, and Lawrence.
Keeping with the theme of education, the 5 honorary survivors for this year’s race are educators—Jonesboro residents Suzanne Callahan and Sandra Combs, Mary Eary of Batesville, Candace Gross of Newport, and Amy Searcy of Wynne.
Callahan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1997. She said she approached the diagnosis “with a teacher’s attitude” and learned everything she could about it so she could be around for her family. Callahan said she was able to get treatment using funding from the Komen foundation:
"I participated in several clinical trials which consisted of preoperative chemotherapy, surgery, high dose chemotherapy with stem cell recovery, and radiation," Callahan said. "It was a full year of treatment. Soon, I became aware that 1997 was not 1985. There were new drugs; new procedures, and for 20 years following that, I was cancer free.”
Race officials expect 4,000 participants in this year’s race. The event will be on Saturday, April 28 with the opening ceremony set for 7:30 am at Centennial Bank Stadium.
Watch the full press conference below: