Thousands participate in Race for the Cure

A sea of pink flooded downtown Amarillo Saturday morning as thousands took part in the 21st Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

A record-breaking 6,500 people showed up ready to run, walk and spectate. Men, women and children of all ages showed their pink pride with t-shirts, face paint, hats, signs and even their four-legged companions.

Event volunteers said the race is a great way to advocate awareness about the disease that affects one in eight women.

"Breast cancer affects everyone," said Greater Amarillo Executive Director Lisa Hoff Davis. "Most importantly today, what we're trying to do is spread our life-saving message of early detection."

The funds raised by the race go to provide better breast cancer research, support for breast cancer survivors and assistance for women all over the country. In 2010, the organization presented a $250,000 program at the Harrington Cancer Center for women who could not afford screening.

"We're so pleased that the community comes out to support Susan G. Komen for the Cure," said Davis, "because it allows us to turn around and fund that money right back in the community."

Most of the people participating in the race knew someone who has been diagnosed with or has died from breast cancer. Some people lost the loved ones closest to them, including Jill Zimmer.

Zimmer's 22-year-old daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago in Lubbock. She died after a seven-year battle. Friends, family and sorority sisters of Zimmer's daughter, 170 to be exact, joined Zimmer at the race to raise money that will go to help others.

"There's all these survivors," said Zimmer. "It's a hard, hard road, and I just admire all the people that are working for Komen and trying to help these people."

ZImmer said the experience of losing her daughter opened her eyes to the sad truth about breast cancer.

"You need to be vigilant about your body. This disease doesn't discriminate based on age. You're never too young to get it."

The stories of ones lost, the stories of those who overcame and the stories of those still fighting motivated more than 6,000 people to come together for a cause, for support, in hopes of one day finding a cure.