Running for those who can’t | AspenTimes.com

Running for those who can’t

Joel Stonington

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

Becky Brunson ran the Komen Race for the Cure in celebration of her mom, who found out Feb. 15 she has cancer, and is undergoing chemotherapy.”She’s bald and beautiful,” Brunson said Saturday. “She has the best attitude of anyone I’ve ever met.”Brunson joined a friend, Lori Rapaport, who was running for Brunson’s mom and two valley locals, Kellie Schenck and Patsy Lanter, both of whom are in remission.”We prayed about it the whole time we ran,” Brunson said.

The event was full of folks like Rapaport and Brunson, wearing the names of people working through cancer and running in memory of those who died from it. Sandy Kellner, a survivor, walked in celebration of her daughter-in-law and in memory of her sister. Like many of the other people there, Kellner saw her struggle with cancer as something of a blessing. “It was hard,” she said. “It interrupts your life temporarily, but then you come back and you feel stronger.”Thousands showed up for the Komen Race for the Cure this year, with events including a 5k race, Dogs for the Cure Walk, one-mile fun walk and Komen Kids 100-yard dash. Proceeds benefit eradicating breast cancer through research, education, screening and treatment.

Aspen Race for the Cure keeps 75 percent of the proceeds in the health initiatives in Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties, while 25 percent of the funds go to the Susan G. Komen research program. Suzann Resnick, a former president of the organization’s Aspen chapter, spotted her cancer through early detection in the late ’90s. She said that the Foundation provides information and help to those with breast cancer, but what may be just as important is the support network and group of people she met.”I’ve made some of the best friends of my life with Komen,” Resnick said. “We call ourselves the old dead presidents.”The support is necessary for people to keep going through difficult treatments and surgeries.

“Once you’re in it you’re so scared,” Resnick said. “You always think it’s going to be someone else, so you don’t pay attention to it until you need to.”She said the Komen organization is now trying to branch out into some of the communities that may not know they are at risk. Specifically, the Aspen group is trying to do more education and support in the Latino community. The group is also reaching out to people in their 20s, who are in the fastest growing at-risk group. For many, the biggest help comes from family and friends who give strength through a difficult time.Brunson did her part by surprising her mother for Mother’s Day and her birthday this year.

“That was when we shaved her head, all her hair was falling out,” Brunson said. “We gave her a mullet, just for fun. You have to make the best of it.”She laughed.”It’s inspiring to see so many people out here,” said Rapaport, Brunson’s friend. “We’re running for people who can’t run right now. It helps you not take things for granted.”Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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