Race a local success story | AspenTimes.com

Race a local success story

“When people run the [Race for the Cure] in larger towns they are running for the cause, which is great, but in Aspen people are running for the names and faces of the people they see in the community.”

That’s one of the reasons Michele Bodner, president of the Aspen affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, believes the event has been so successful in the Roaring Fork Valley. The ninth annual Race for the Cure is tomorrow, and a number of other fund-raising events are scheduled throughout the weekend.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation was founded in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister Susan Goodman Komen, who died of breast cancer at age 36. Now, 17 years later, the Komen Foundation is the nation’s most progressive grass-roots organization in fighting breast cancer, with more than 35,000 volunteers and 106 Komen affiliates across the nation.

The Aspen Affiliate was founded by Sandy Goldman Israel, a 13-year survivor of breast cancer. She began volunteering on a national level with the American Cancer Society, where she saw all of the proceeds from events go to national research groups.

Israel eventually decided that women in her own community were being neglected by these events and established the Aspen Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Of the money raised by the local group, 75 percent stays in the community and 25 percent goes to national research foundations.

She and other members of the Aspen affiliate also created a local helpline women can call to receive moral support, get advice and support from women who have fought breast cancer, or get questions about breast cancer answered.

The Aspen affiliate has grown to over 250 members since its beginning in 1991. Through its efforts, more than $1 million has been raised. The money has provided women access to subsidized mammograms, education on the benefits of early detection, and the purchase of mammography equipment.

According to Israel, helping women learn how to discover breast cancer early can lead to a 90 percent survival rate. Although there is not a cure for advanced breast cancer, the women and families of Aspen are working hand-in-hand with the Komen Foundation to continue the fight, she said.

Members of the local chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation attribute their success to Aspen’s tight-knit community.

“This is a very caring community,” said Bodner. “Most of the participants have a family member or a friend in the community who has been affected by the disease.”

For more information, contact the Aspen Affiliate at 920-0250. The local helpline can be reached through Susan Whitney at 920-1339. For information on breast health and breast cancer, contact the Komen Foundation’s National Toll-Free Breast Care Helpline at 1-800-462-9273, or visit the foundation’s Web site at http://www.breastcancerinfo.com/.

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