LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The fight against breast cancer once again hit the streets of Little Rock Saturday morning.
The annual Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure drew thousands of people to the city for the annual run/walk. Women, and men, painted the town pink. And every dollar raised goes back into communities around the state.
"I found out in 2013,” said Juanita Dodd, a breast cancer survivor.
"I found out I had breast cancer five months ago,” Catriba Bates said.
She’s had several family members battle the disease. It’s a fight worth fighting.
"I don't want to be afflicted with it, but should I be, I want to be, able to be surrounded by those who are fighting against it,” said Jamie Taylor.
Over 15,000 people registered to participate in the 24th Annual Race For the Cure.
"I've participated for five years in the competitive 5k. I do it because my aunt fought and won against breast cancer and several other members of my family have been affected by it in the past,” Taylor said.
This year's event brought out 2500 survivors.
“God is good, I can't complain because he's got me through it” said Bates.
"I'm here today because of God’s grace,” Dodd added.
The foundation is second only to the federal government for money spent on breast cancer research. The affiliate in Arkansas services 68 out of 75 counties.
“When they found out I had cancer, they paid for the treatments,” said Dodd.
Survivors want everyone to know that the organization helps them by paying for mammogram and treatment expenses, transportation and even childcare. Anything a patient may need during hard times.
"I wish more people would give to this organization. People may not know what it does for us, but it does a lot. Black, White or Mexican, it helps everybody,” Bates said.
Survivors come not only to race, but to share their personal experience in hopes of encouraging others.
"I've met so many great people here who's been 19 years through it, five years through it, and they've got smiles on their faces. And I have a smile on my face,” she added.
Next weekend the celebration, and support, travels to Texarkana.
“Every woman over 40 years old, please go and get your mammogram every year. Because you never know,” said Dodd.
There are 26 counties in Arkansas without mammography machines. Komen helps fund mobile units for those areas so that no woman goes undetected. The group expanded to Jonesboro earlier this year.
The Northeast Arkansas Race For the Cure event raised over half a million dollars with 4,000 participants in its first year. Organizers anticipate continued growth and are already planning for next year's event both here and in other parts of the state.
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