By Cherri Gregg, Tim Jimenez
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –– It wouldn’t be Mother’s Day in Philadelphia without the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. For the past 26 years, the race to raise money for breast cancer has become a tradition.
An estimated 100,000 people laced up Sunday, donning pink T-shirts, hats, headbands, and more to signify their solidarity with their mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends who have battled breast cancer.
“When I was asked to help out 26 years ago, it was 1,000 people getting together,” said Frank Stein, a longtime volunteer and Vice President of the Board at Susan G. Komen Philadelphia. “Every single year it’s helping more and more people.”
Stein says the event has grown exponentially, beginning with a couple of dozen volunteers to over 1,000 today.
“Men and women are coming together from all over the city to play a role,” he said. “They feel they want to be a part of this.”
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Elaine Grobman, CEO of Komen Philadelphia, says roughly 100,000 people participated in the 5K event, which is expected to raise $2-million this year and $56-million over the past 26 years, all to help find a cure for breast cancer.
“This is a celebration for all the survivors and their families,” Grobman said. “This year, 6,000 survivors took part in the survivor’s parade.”
Meryl Weinreb was among those survivors who marched down the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
“I’m a three-time survivor and my first breast cancer was in 1988,” Weinreb said. “And in 1988 things were pretty, pretty bad.”
A different world than today’s, which has less invasive treatments and higher survival rates. And so the survivors, like Sheila, are also a symbol of hope.
“I’m so grateful today,” she said. “Because of my checkups, (my doctor) was able to detect the symptoms of cancer.”
Jean Marie from Roxborough is now one year cancer-free. She says her Mother’s Day wish of health and being with her daughters has come true.
“It’s the best gift I could get and that’s what I told them,” she said. “I said I didn’t want a gift for Mother’s Day this year, I just wanted you to walk with me. So, they did.”
Others took part in the event in honor of those who lost the battle with breast cancer.
Lisa from Burlington, New Jersey was the leader of Team Conchetta. Conchetta, her mother, died on Easter weekend after an eight year struggle with breast cancer. And so the day was like no other she’s ever had.
“The is the first Mother’s Day in 51 years that I am without this great woman,” she Lisa said. “I hope she’s with us today. I’m sure she is.”
And for everyone, being with others who know exactly what those around them are going through is a powerful feeling.
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