As June began, thousands took advantage of the beautiful Madison weather to offer their sweat in support of breast cancer fighters everywhere.
Approximately 7,000 runners and walkers took part in Saturday’s 16th annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with proceeds going to breast cancer research.
For anyone who has battled the disease herself or watched a loved one battle it, the race is an important part of a life-altering journey.
Jacquelyn Lightfoot was one of just under 700 survivors who attended Saturday's race.
"I'm just standing here with God's help,” said Lightfoot. “To show support for my sister, my aunt, and myself. My cousin and all the survivors.”
Sandy Mascari-Devitt is a breast cancer survivor turned health educator in Rock County. She believes the money raised by the Race for the Cure is crucial in the funding of local research and support programs.
"I feel so honored to have the job I have,” said Mascari-Devitt. “I feel I was born to do what I'm doing now."
“I'm fortunate enough to be one of the positions that is a Susan G. Komen grantee, so I work for Mercy Health System as a brand new breast health patient navigator helping women through a breast cancer diagnosis,” explained Mascari-Devitt.
For many of the folks gathered in Madison on Saturday, just being witness to the sea of survivors in pink shirts and supporters in white shirts is uplifting.
"Having both the white shirts and the pink shirts and everybody coming together and seeing that mass of people walking together to want to show support to raise money and to find a cure for this disease is so powerful,” exclaimed Mascari-Devitt.
Last year, the Race for the Cure raised more than $550,000.
Since 1998, nearly $5 million in proceeds from the Race for the Cure have been given to local organizations, covering not only Dane County, but a majority of southwestern Wisconsin.
With that money and the spirit of thousands of survivors and supporters, Jacquelyn Lightfoot says that the cause is stronger than the disease.
"We all have the will power to live and cancer can't beat us,” Lightfoot said. “We're warriors.”