PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Helen Keller once said that “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.” Nowhere will that be more evident than this Sunday, as thousands of people gather at the Art Museum for the Race For The Cure.
Naila Lopez of Girls on the Run is active and always on the go.
“When I run it makes me feel better,” she said.
This Sunday the 11-year-old will be among those running in the Race For The Cure.
She’s running in memory of a very special woman, her aunt Irene who passed away in January.
“I’m gonna take her place, running for her,” Lopez said.
Naila’s mother, Cassie Tomaszewski, says Irene was a fighter.
“She battled cancer for eight years, eight long years,” Cassie said. “She was the life of the family.”
Each year, Irene would walk in the race, so the day has special meaning.
“It makes me feel happy because we always used to be together,” Naila said.
You could say she is a girl with a mission, a girl on the run.
“Girls on the Run is a youth development for girls in third through eighth grade,” Colleen Kelly Howard, who is the executive director, explained. “It uses running as a platform to give girls life skills and to build confidence.”
The 10-week program culminates in a 5k.
“So really, the timing is great because the girls will get to practice a 5k by participating in this race,” Howard said.
It’s the first year that Girls on the Run is partnering with Susan G. Komen.
“The goal of the partnership is really to use our shared commitment to teaching girls about wellness and getting it started early,” Howard said. “And the whole goal of our program is to set the girls up for success in living a healthy lifestyle, and so really, our missions are connected in that way.”
Gladys Cruz is helping the girls train at the Juniata Park Boys & Girls Club.
“Our population, our Hispanic girls and other minorities, we’re not big runners but we are now,” Cruz said. “What it’s done for the girls here, it’s gotten them involved.”
While Naila runs for her aunt, many of the girls have similar stories.
“I am guessing that almost every girl in the program has a friend or family member that they know who’s been impacted in some way,” Howard said.