Our Team’s Story: We Race for Cora & Friends

Race Large Banner_2014Guest Writer: Jana Schmuke

This will be the 6th year for our team at the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure.

Originally, the name was Team Cora. However, our team has known too many people affected by breast cancer, so this year we changed the name to Team Cora & Friends.

Cora, the original inspiration for Team Cora & Friends

Cora, the original inspiration for Team Cora & Friends

The team was originally named after my mom, Cora Leiendecker. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in the early 1990s. She had a mastectomy, but in 1998, the cancer returned and metastasized throughout her body. She endured radiation and chemotherapy until December 2000, when the doctors told her there was nothing more they could do for her.

Even in the midst of her pain she continued to be an inspiration to so many people. She passed away on July 8, 2001, just shortly after my parents’ 34th wedding anniversary. Cora left behind a husband, four children and two grandchildren. Since her passing, there have been four more grandchildren who never got to meet her. My two children have participated in the Komen St. Louis Race since they were born.

A few members of Team Cora at the 2013 Komen St. Louis Race

A few members of Team Cora at the 2013 Komen St. Louis Race

My mom never felt sorry for herself and made the most of the time that she had with us, so we take this time each year to celebrate her life. We walk with the hope that there will be one less family that has to deal with such a tragedy.

As I mentioned, my mom is not the only one that our team knows who has fought the fight. So, we now also walk in memory of Jeanie Kiefer Martin McDowell (my Uncle’s sister), Cindy Moll (family friend), Becky Lorts (team friend) and Cookie Loughary (my cousin’s mother-in-law).

And we walk in support of those still fighting: Lavonne Vaninger (family and team friend), Kay Stanford (team friend), Joanne Brockmiller (team friend) and Harmony Foster (team friend).

On Race day, our team members always end up with goose bumps as they look down and behind them on the sea of people. It becomes an experience they will always remember.

And for me, words can’t express the pride that I feel as I walk in memory of my mom and the support that I feel from so many strangers.

 
Join us for the 16th Annual Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure on Saturday, June 14. Visit www.komenstlouis.org.

Why do you race? Share your story: prstories@komenstlouis.org.

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I Race for My Aunt Carol

Race Large Banner_2014Guest Writer: Diana Haynes, Komen St. Louis Intern

I race for my Aunt Carol who has battled cancer on and off since October of 2000.

Her journey began with breast cancer then entered remission in the fall of 2001. Cancer returned in her bones in 2009 and shook our entire family. After going into remission again later that year for about six months, we received the news as the new year began that cancer returned once again in her brain. She has been fighting it ever since.

Diana and her Aunt Carol

Diana and her Aunt Carol

My Aunt Carol has been one of the bravest women I’ve ever known. Through everything that she has been through, I’ve never seen her lose her faith and spirit. Raising two young children as well as her two kids from a previous marriage, she has fought one of the hardest battles you can while still doing an amazing job.

She has been an inspiration not only to me, but to our entire family. Throughout high school and college I have helped put together multiple “pink games” through athletics to help raise money and am now an intern with Komen St. Louis. All of my work is in honor of her.

As I’ve gotten older, I see and learn about more and more people who are affected by this terrible disease. I now want to support not only my family, but all those who have fought, are fighting, and who may have to fight in the future.

I have been a part of Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure since 2010 and plan to continue supporting the cause until we can find a cure!

Join us for the 16th Annual Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure on Saturday, June 14. Visit www.komenstlouis.org.

Why do you race? Share your story: prstories@komenstlouis.org.

I Race for Fabulous Forty and Beyond

Race Large Banner_2014Guest Writer: Traci N. Tyus, Komen St. Louis Volunteer

As I approach the magnificent milestone of FYNELY & FABULOUSLY FORTY this June, I am continuing my commitment to causes and purposes greater than myself.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr….

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” – Mahatma Gandhi

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

As I continue to find myself and start living over and over again, I want that life to continue to include serving others…over and over again!

I Race for...TraciT_photo

Traci Tyus

As a result of this milestone, scheduling and receiving mammograms will become a part of my annual routine on my health and wellness journey.

Personally knowing several women who have been fighters of this horrible disease as well as some who fought a good fight and ultimately succumbed…

I Race….

 

Join us for the 16th Annual Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure on Saturday, June 14. Visit www.komenstlouis.org.

Why do you race? Share your story: prstories@komenstlouis.org.

I Race for the Memory of My Mother

Race Large Banner_2014Guest Writer: Karen Gieseking

I have been a part of the Komen St. Louis Race for the last five years in memory of my mother.

Karen's parents on their wedding day

Karen’s parents on their wedding day

She died at the age of 48 after battling inflammatory breast cancer for 18 months. I was 12, and losing her left an empty place in my life that could never completely be filled up.

I’m 48 now, with two grown-up sons, and a 12-year-old daughter who has my mother’s smile, and I will do anything to stay with her.

I’ve been blessed to experience many joys my mother didn’t get to see. I’ve watched one of my sons get married, graduate from college, cradle his child in his arms. And at every step, I’ve prayed that I’ll be there when it’s my daughter’s turn.

Karen and her daughter

Karen and her daughter

I’ve survived my life, but I would never wish what I went through on anyone else.

Join us for the 16th Annual Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure on Saturday, June 14. Visit www.komenstlouis.org.

Why do you race? Share your story: prstories@komenstlouis.org.