Runners battle heat to aid fight against cancer

By Amanda Lowrance

Runners battle heat to aid fight against cancer

Staff Photo by Amanda Lowrance

Pink Ribbon Run

In nearly 100 degree temperatures, approximately 65 runners and walkers attended the 2nd Annual Pink Ribbon Run last Saturday at Selmer City Park.

Breast cancer survivors Tonya Brown and Marsha Jester told of their personal trials and participated in the event. Brown helped with organizing the event and Jester walked the course.

The course began at the park, went around Selmer Elementary School, crossed over Popular Avenue to Molly Drive, left onto Popular, circled Home Banking Company, up Horner Drive to return to Popular, and then down by the school once again to end back at the park.

There were three water stations provided along the way, volunteers handing out wet towels, and spotters to help keep traffic slim on the course.

Terry Taylor finished first in the 5K with a time of 21 minutes and 58 seconds and was awarded three pink medallions for first overall, first male, and first in the over-40 age group. Grant McMahan finished second overall and as the first teen runner with a time of 24:42.

Michael Barnes trailed with a time of 24:53 and was awarded  first in the over-30 age group. Second place teen runner went to Will Wallace, and Cindy Hawkins placed second in the over-40 age group.

Meribeth Boehler received two medallions for first female runner and first in her age group, and Boehler’s sister, Mallory Bradley placed second in the over-20 age group. Second place in the over-30 age group went to Hannah Robinson. 

Shelva Moore won first place in the over-50 age group and Lisa Horton placed second. More runners participated in this year’s race than in last year’s introductory 5K. 

Donations are still being accepted, and anyone who makes a $15 or more donation to the Avon Walk will receive a free Pink Ribbon Run t-shirt while supplies last.

A survivor’s story: Brown stays strong

Every 13 minutes a woman dies from breast cancer in the United States, and every three minutes a woman is diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society.

Many have heartbreaking stories, but survivors bring stories of hope. For Christy McMahan, event coordinator for the Pink Ribbon Walk, her inspiration comes from long-time friend and two-time cancer survivor Tonya Brown.

Brown was first diagnosed at 31 years old after the birth of her two young children. At age 36, she was diagnosed a second time with breast cancer and has been through treatment, chemo, and surgery.

“It has been a real trying time for her,” said McMahan. “It makes you think about the things they went through.” 

 The levels of pain and sickness from breast cancer and treatment can vary from mild to severe and from short to longer-lasting episodes.

“It meant a lot to me when Tonya asked me to do the Susan G. Komen walk last year,” said McMahan. I felt honored because I know it’s something that means a lot to her. At first, I thought, ‘How am I going to walk 60 miles in three days?’ Then, it made me think, ‘How does someone survive cancer?’”

Brown’s grandmother and mother are also breast cancer survivors. Her mother has been cancer free for over 25 years.

“I really want to do these walks to show that I have charge over the cancer and it does not have charge over me,” said Brown. “People line up the streets, there are cheerleaders, and it’s just a great way to make people aware of breast cancer and the issues people face with it.”

At the end of October, locals Cindy Cain, McMahan, and McMahan’s mother, Clara McCullar will join survivors Brown and Angela Burgett in the team, Pinked Out for Life in Charolette, NC for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

The team found inspiration through their personal and family trials, and the group plans to continue their deep commitment to fighting breast cancer and providing inspiration to others.