Race for the Cure

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COLUMBIA - For people like KayMaree Hader, breast cancer is an illness that's always been a part of life.

Hader was there when her cousin and grandmother battled the disease and was diagnosed herself in November.

Saturday, Hader will be among the nearly 1,000 Columbia residents who will walk and run together in the eighth annual Susan G. Komen Foundation "Race for the Cure". Proceeds from the event will support local testing and awareness efforts.

"Events like this race are so important to celebrate survivors," Hader said. "For survivors, we have gone through so much. It's a struggle. It's a lot on your family, your work, and it's really important that everyone comes together and shows that support."

Registration begins at 7 a.m. at Flat Branch Park with the survivor procession set for 8 a.m. There will be a 5k and 10k race that goes through downtown Columbia. 

Komen Missouri Executive Director, Helen Chestnut, a survivor herself, said events like this are critical to building a sense of community among survivors and patients.

"It is really inspiring, because the ones that are here are the ones who really want to be here. Not only for themselves, but for that next person that might get diagnosed."

The theme of this year's event is "Be Bold. Be Fearless. Be More.", something Chesnut said is reflective of a survivor's mindset. 

"As a survivor, breast cancer is a part of me, but it doesn't define who I am. But by being bold and being fearless, it does not stop me from doing anything I want to do."

Chesnut said the race will be a success if it motivates Mid-Missouri women to get checked.

"If woman looks at us and goes 'Huh, I need to go and get screened' then it is worth every bit of the rain, the work, everything."