The 22nd annual Susan G. Komen Philadelphia Race for the Cure is a few months away, but the planning is well under way.
Key supporters of the nation’s largest private funder of the fight against breast cancer recently gathered at one of Komen’s prominent sponsors, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
About 100 team captains and members got together on Jan. 17 at CTCA, at 1331 E. Wyoming Ave., for a “Rally of Champions.”
“We’re trying to create excitement and get people on board,” said Heather Greaves, a “loyalty specialist” in CTCA’s marketing department and captain of the cancer center’s team.
CTCA is the Komen Philadelphia affiliate’s Champion Sponsor of the Promise. This is the third year that the cancer center has been prominently involved in the charity event.
Each year, on Mother’s Day, there is a 5K run/walk to benefit the fight against breast cancer. Activities take place at Eakins Oval and outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This year, 125,000 or so people will gather on Sunday morning, May 13.
“It’s such a fun event at such a cool spot,” Greaves said.
As part of the working relationship with Komen, CTCA supplies money and race-day volunteers, along with year-round programs related to breast cancer.
“Each year, they become more and more involved with Susan G. Komen in the community,” said Elaine Grobman, the CEO of Komen’s Philadelphia affiliate. “Whatever idea we suggest, it’s a yes. I don’t have to knock on their door.”
CTCA had 136 employees, family members and friends at last year’s Komen event. There were even two patients, along with Joey the dog. The goal this year is 150.
Team captains adhere to commandments, and Greaves has been assigned, “Thou Shall Not Forget Pink Pom-Poms.”
The cancer center enlists all employees to provide “care that never quits.” The center offers healing and hope to patients and their families at its facility and on race day.
Visitors to CTCA’s “Capturing Hope” educational tent will be able to get their pictures taken with pink boas and hats.
“That hope piece is very, very important to us,” said marketing director John Goodchild.
As in past years, there will be singing, dancing, clowns and some 6,000 breast cancer survivors walking down the art museum steps.
“It’s a happening,” Grobman said.
In all, there are 1,014 teams across the 15 counties served by the Philadelphia affiliate. The biggest is the throng of 580 representing Einstein Medical Center.
This year, for the first time, there will be a Kids Dash to Make a Difference, open to children ages 3 to 12.
Last week, team captains shared fund-raising techniques. Money goes to research, mammograms and early-detection efforts.
The rally featured CBS 3 news reporter Stephanie Stahl and a healthy cooking demonstration from CTCA executive chef Larry Kessel and registered dietitian Nhu Huyhn.
Komen officials hope momentum continues to grow up to May 13.
“We need everyone to win this fight against breast cancer,” Grobman said. “We hope this is our biggest and best and most wonderful event ever.” ••
To register or for more information, go to komenphiladelphia.org