April 17, 2010 in City

Survivors, supporters get ready to race for the cure

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photo

Heather McDonnell (left), 32 of Spokane, gets a hug from Tatjana Dorsch after Dorsch applied some essential oils to McDonnell’s neck on Saturday at the Women’s Show in the Spokane Convention Center. McDon has one last chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer and will sit out The Race of the Cure in downtown Spokane on Sunday. It didn’t keep her from checking out the vendors at the Women’s Show, however.
(Full-size photo)

Race route, street closures

The city of Spokane will close some downtown streets Sunday morning to make way for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., the start and finish areas at Spokane Falls Boulevard and Bernard Street, as well as the Washington Street couplet, will be closed to vehicle traffic. The remaining streets along the route will close at 8:45 a.m., with reopening expected at 10:30 a.m. Runners and walkers will travel down Spokane Falls to Riverside Avenue, then onto Cannon Street, around to Pacific Avenue, then to Chestnut Street, Second Avenue and Elm Street. Racers will return downtown via Riverside to Lincoln Street, Main Street then Bernard. The race will finish on Bernard in front of the Spokane Convention Center. Northbound and southbound motorists are asked to use Division, Browne or Hamilton streets. For more information, visit race.komenspokane.org.

Some days the drugs she takes to treat her stage one breast cancer keep Heather McDonnell in bed.

But on Saturday, the 32-year-old Spokane woman felt strong enough for an outing to the 2010 Spokane Women’s Show at the Spokane Convention Center.

And she was glad she did.

McDonnell enjoyed an aromatherapy massage offered at one of dozens of vendors at the fair and expo, held in advance of Eastern Washington’s Fifth Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Thousands will take to the streets of downtown Sunday to complete a one-mile or five-mile walk or run in support of breast cancer research and prevention.

In addition to browsing today, race participants picked up their T-shirts and race numbers, all the color pink — the signature color of the breast cancer awareness campaign.

“Just to have so much support in the community, it helps you with those days when you are so down, and it’s just you and the bed,” McDonnell said.

As race participants checked in, there was no shortage of stories of survival, triumph and loss.

“Cancer strikes so randomly,” said Sue LaRue, a three-year breast cancer survivor. Since her diagnosis, LaRue’s co-workers from Banner Fuel have participated in the race in her honor, on a team called “Banner Breast Friends.”

LaRue, 61, and her sister, Judy Palmer – both survivors – volunteer to hand out race packets to survivor participants in the race tomorrow. The breast cancer survivors will lead the race as it begins at 9 a.m., and will pose for a survivors’ photo.

“It’s just so overwhelming, they make you feel so special,” LaRue said. “It gives us hope.”

Last year was the largest race to date, officials said, with more participants expected this year. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was formed by Nancy Bichtner, the younger sister of Susan Komen, who died of breast cancer in 1980 at the age of 36. Two years after her death, her sister created the foundation, which has raised more than $1 billion in the past 28 years.

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