First annual Pink Ribbon Run a success

By Emily Pitts


First annual Pink Ribbon Run a success

Breast cancer survivors, from left, Tonya Brown, Marsha Jester, Pam West and Tena Turner wait to begin their survivor lap around the track. They were honored at Saturday's Pink Ribbon Run. Staff photo by Emily Pitts

It was an emotional day for Christy McMahan and more than 100 people who showed up at Selmer City Park to support her efforts to raise money for the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk in Atlanta this October.

Despite the cold and rain, the 5k run/walk had about 80 participants of all ages. Also on hand to help was McMahan’s friend and two-time cancer survivor Tonya Brown. Brown holds an  event similar to Selmer’s Pink Ribbon Run in her hometown near Birmingham, Ala. The theme of this year’s run was “Hope.”

“I want people to know that getting cancer is not a death sentence anymore,” said Brown. “You can still live your life.”

McMahan and Brown were busy registering survivors and participants for the run/walk as early as 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 14. The park began filling up quickly and by 8, it was crowded with people.

The event kicked off with a few inspirational words and a poem about hope, delivered by Brown to an emotional audience. After that, the participants released 50 balloons, each purchased in honor or memory of someone they know that has been affected by breast cancer.

Before the run got started, McMahan honored three breast cancer survivors, along with Brown, that were present at the event with a survivor lap around the track. Finally, the 5k run/walk began.

The route went around the park’s track and through the parking lots of Selmer Elementary School and Selmer Middle School. There were two different tracks: One for runners and one for walkers. When the run/walk ended, 18 winners were honored for the fastest times in their age groups.

“It was a great success,” said McMahan. She and all participants of the   Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk are required to raise $2,300 for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. The Pink Ribbon Run raised about half of the money that McMahan will need in order to participate in the walk with Brown this October.

McMahan and Brown will be walking 600 miles together over 24 weeks in order to train for the 3-Day for the Cure walk. When they travel to Atlanta for the event, they will be walking 60 miles over the course of three days with participants from all over the world.

“This is one of the things I wanted to do to say, ‘Hey, this is hard, but I can do this,’” said Brown, who has survived two bouts of cancer. “It was my way of fighting back. It made me feel like I could empower myself.”

McMahan hopes to make the Pink Ribbon Run an annual event, much like Brown’s 5k, which now has over 200 participants. For questions about the event or to donate to the cause, contact Christy McMahan at (731) 610-6008.

The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation funds both local community programs that support education, screening and treatment, and global breast cancer research. Additionally, the Komen for the Cure grant has played a key role in funding a large number of scientific advances related to breast cancer research over the past 28 years.

For more information about the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure walk, visit www.the3day.org.