Most people can say that they know someone in their lives affected by breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Awareness month is upon us, and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure has come back to the Central Florida community for the 18th annual event at UCF. The race will be held at the CFE Arena on Sunday Oct. 12.
According to research found by the Susan G. Komen foundation, in 2014, there will be an average of 40,000 deaths caused by breast cancer in the U.S. alone. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women worldwide and affects men, as well.
Last year, Susan G. Komen's community grants went to help more than 50,000 families affected by breast cancer. This organization can be found all over the U.S., in more than 18,000 communities, including right here in Central Florida.
The fundraiser goal for this year's Central Florida Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event is $500,000. About $96,500 has been raised toward the goal so far, according to the Central Florida Komen website.
Ashley Pruitt, mission coordinator for the Central Florida Susan G. Komen branch, has been involved in the movement for breast cancer awareness and research for decades.
"I began my involvement with Susan G. Komen when I was 10 years old. My mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor and we ran the race in South Florida every year," Pruitt said. "Once I began my undergrad at UCF, I started interning for the Central Florida affiliate and remained an intern here for 3 years before being asked to become the full-time mission coordinator. I've been involved in the race at just about nearly every level for the last 15 years."
The organization has been very successful at raising funds for research and the community.
"Since 1997, we have raised over $6 million through our [Central Florida] affiliate alone. Breast cancer affects one in every eight women and one in every 1,000 men. The event is truly a celebration of life, and we also honor those who have lost their battle to this horrific disease," Pruitt said. "We would love to see UCF involved as much as possible to make this event a true success.
"There are lots of ways to get involved. You can run, walk, or volunteer. Even if you are out of town or the race is just simply too early, you can register as a 'Sleep-in for the Cure.' All of these opportunities are available to register through our website at www.komencentralflorida.org."
Many other organizations at UCF are doing their part for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Zeta Tau Alpha has raised $25,000 this year for breast cancer research, education and awareness. Haleigh Plummer, a sophomore criminal justice major, is a member of Zeta.
"I got involved with the Race for the Cure after how moved I was by simply running in the race last year. I really wanted to take on a position this year and make a difference for those that have been affected," Plummer said.
Plummer is in charge of Race for the Cure for the ZTA chapter.
"I have participated in Relay for Life for the past 6 years, and I fell in love with the Race for the Cure for the same reason I did with the Relay," Plummer explained. "My best friend's grandmother passed away from breast cancer and a good friend of mine's mom as well. This makes running the race that much more meaningful knowing I am running in honor of these amazing women and others we have lost to this terrible disease."
For more information on how you can get involved with the race on Sunday or to donate to the cause, visit www.komencentralflorida.org. For more information on Susan G. Komen and the work they are doing, visit ww5.komen.org/.