Co-director, Angela Lyon, and race director, Nancy Briggs, welcomed over 300 runners and walkers to the 24th annual Remembrance 5K Run and Walk held on the beautiful trails of Timber Ridge Campground, Saturday, October 8. The Traverse City Track Club, with the help of families and friends, organized the Remembrance Run/Walk each year since 1994. Along with club members, the track club recognizes there are many women in our community not only challenged with breast cancer, but also in need of extra financial assistance for non-medical aspects of their care. For this reason in 1997, through a partnership with Munson Healthcare, the club helped create the Michigan Women’s Cancer Fund. Now, the Michigan Women’s Cancer Fund is made possible through the fundraising efforts of not only the Traverse City Track Club, but also by other community support and programming, including: Women’s Hands Art Show, The North American VASA, Boarding for Breast Cancer, Rumpled-Quilts-Kin Quilt Guild, Kay’s retail and many private donations. Every Remembrance Run dollar, above event costs, is donated to the Women’s Cancer Fund based on the success of this amazing one day event. In addition to the main sponsor, the Traverse City Track Club, the event was sponsored by Timber Ridge Campground, Lite 96.3, Haggerty, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, KHQ, Copy Queenz, Caldwell Cancer Center, North Bay Produce,(great apples), and Moomers, (tasty Ice cream samples) and many more local businesses who donated prizes for the silent auction. Special thanks goes to Benjamin Twiggs for their gracious support each year. Julie, owner at Benjamin Twiggs, hosts a “Day to Remember” at the store (located in Campus Plaza) where participants can pick up race packets and register on site. Benjamin Twiggs donates a percentage of food sales from the entire month of October to the Women’s Cancer Fund. Attention should be focused on the generous underwriting of the Traverse City Track Club and president Lisa Taylor.
Peter Deneen, led us to the starting line with his exciting bagpipes wearing his authentic Scottish kilts. In addition, a banner was carried with the names of many of our lost loved ones.
There were many stories of survival and success, too many to cover. I spoke to a few of the women who told me their story. Many had a message for folks at home. Angela Lyon co-directs the 5K in memory of her mother who died from breast cancer (BC). Angela also has cousins and an aunt who had BC. Important to Angela is that the funding benefits non-medical needs. Carrie Baic, volunteered with registration. Carrie has lots of friends with BC and an aunt. Linda Shomin is a volunteer who beat BC. In 2013, Linda had a lumpectomy. She spent 16 days in radiation. No chemo. She continues taking a risky prescription. Linda has no family history of BC. Connie Zoutendyk, 65, is a BC survivor from 12 years ago. Her mother’s sister also had BC. Connie says to you all; “God is good”. Jennifer White-Seymour, 36, has a sister who was diagnosed at age 31. Jennifer has no family history. Her sister had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation and is currently taking meds. Jennifer is here to honor her sister and to “support an amazing cause and amazing women and their family and friends”. Judy Yeager was one of the event leaders. Terri Hanson, 56, discovered BC in 2007. She received treatment for one year. Now she is not on BC meds. Terri says; “Breast Cancer cannot define you. Your heart and spirit are still in-tact. Family and friends will help you cope. Keep in mind your blessings and be grateful.”
Caryn Chachulski, 45, noticed BC in May of 2013. She received treatment until November. Her aunt (father’s side) had BC, and died from ovarian cancer. Caryn explained the BRCA1 gene increases your chance of getting BC. The initial test is expensive, but additional members of the same family can have the test at a reduced rate. The test is a simple saliva test. Caryn wants everyone to know, “It’s important to honor those who fought and lost their fight. Everyone is touched by BC. Caryn’s husband, Matt Cowell says “It’s cathartic, every year, to run in this event. It’s a great event.” The stars pinned to Caryn’s back, and many others in the event, contain the name of a lost loved one.
Rebecca Gallegos, RN, is the head Breast Health Nurse Navigator, a new position created when Cowell Family Health Center opened in 2016. In addition, Rebecca’s mother-in-law is a BC survivor. Rebecca says; “the lifetime risk is 1 in 8. Major risk factors are female and aging.” Jennie Ewert, 56, is a teacher in Beaverton, who recently bought a vacation home in Elk Rapids. I had the pleasure of running the last few miles with Jennie. The group we were with, ran off the course and added several miles to our race. Fun! Jennie’s mother-in-law passed away in 2016 from stomach cancer, so the event has special meaning for Jennie. In addition, heart conditions flow through her family and Jennie was diagnosed with a heart problem which was later found to be moot. Jennie trains 5 days a week, has a resting heartbeat in the mid-50s. She also enjoys low blood pressure. A friend challenged her to try running, so she did. Now, she has completed three half marathons. She feels less stressed and full of good health. Jennie also ran the race in memory of her son, who recently passed away and who she dearly misses. Karilyn Christenson, 73, received funding from the group to help cover much of her travel expenses.
Sharon Robb, from North Bay Produce passed out tasty apples. Hey, you can eat the food label, no kidding. Caleb Brown, 34, of TC ran the 5K and is also with North Bay Produce. The names on the back of his shirt, from last year, are folks who passed away. Charles Wagner, 29, from Buckley must have passed me 6-7 times during the event. He finally beat me across the finish line. Charles’ best friend has cancer. He ran in her honor. . Linda Trowbridge, 40, from Buckley, is Charles’s best friend. She is currently fighting BC. Linda started chemo in June of this year. Valerie and Jeremiah Johnson, ages 39 and 40, came to TC for this event from Kalamazoo. They ran the race in honor of the memory of Valerie’s grandma who died 2 years ago. Their message; “Just keep fighting.”
Nancy Briggs, Angela Lyon, and the Traverse City Track Club, welcome you to come out for next year’s Remembrance 5K Run and Walk. You’ll benefit from the camaraderie. Most of us know someone who has fought the insidious disease of breast cancer who we can honor. Ask your doctor before starting an exercise program. See you next year!
Your author, Mickey Fivenson, has trained over 150,000 miles in 48 years of running. He has completed over 60 marathons. Mickey’s doctors credit running toward surviving several strokes. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race or if you need tips on training, contact firstname.lastname@example.org .