BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Hundreds turned out for the 20th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Bangor Sunday morning.
The event raised more than $24,000 for breast cancer care and research. Seventy-five percent of the funds go to help those fighting the disease right here in Maine.
"The support is tremendous and each year it gets better and better,” said race chair Jane Black.
Survivors rallied together for a ceremony ahead of the race — some who have been cancer free for more than 20 years.
"Six to eight months were pretty overwhelming and difficult, and wondering if I was ever going to be in this place where I could exercise again or what again or even live again,” said Lisa Carroll, reflecting on the most challenging time of her own fight.
Almost six years later, Carroll is truly living again. She was the first survivor to cross the finish line at Sunday’s race.
Bangor firefighters even passed out pink flowers to survivors as they crossed.
“It’s the race for the cure, but also the race for getting back your life,” Carroll said.
She was just one in a sea of pink-shirted survivors who took part in the event, backed by family, friends and fellow fighters.
"Those of us who have survived need to further the cause for those who have gone on before us,” she said.
Carroll said her husband has been a huge support system for her. He was among a number of men sporting pink for the women in their lives, but volunteers were sure to remind people that they are not immune to the disease either.
"It's not just a female fight," said race volunteer Jim Libby. "Three or four years ago, we had five men that were actually breast cancer survivors so men can get breast cancer."
Organizers and participants said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming for a race that means so much.
"We can do what we can do to get through, and we can do what we can do to prevent it, but they have to find a cure," Black said. "They just have to."
While she is one of the lucky ones, Carroll said more and more women close to her are being diagnosed.
“Don't give up the fight," she said. "Don't let it get you."
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