Race for Cure luncheon honors survivors

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – The phrase “Fight Like a Girl” takes on new perspective when viewed through the pink-colored glasses of breast cancer survivors.
The power to laugh and celebrate life in the face of a deadly opponent filled the room during the annual Komen North Mississippi Race for the Cure breast cancer survivors lunch on Thursday.
“Y’all are some tough ladies,” Cindy Edwards, survivor coordinator for the race, told the crowd of more than 150 survivors, friends and family at Harrisburg Baptist Church.
The annual lunch leads up to the 5K race, which will be held at 8 a.m. Saturday at The Mall at Barnes Crossing, where pink-shirted survivors are surrounded by family and friends.
“They’re the spirit behind the race,” said Ellen Friloux a member of the race organizing team. “It’s a huge benefit to our community” raising money that pays for mammograms for the medically underserved and breast cancer education programs as well as supporting national research efforts.
About 3,000 people and nearly 100 teams have registered for the 2010 Komen North Mississippi Race for the Cure, and more are expected to sign up race day.
“We’re expecting a big day,” Friloux said. “The weather should be perfect.”
The lunch and race are always uplifting experiences, survivors say.
“You share memories with survivors,” said Marion Tootle of Tupelo, a 15-year breast cancer survivor. “You meet so many that have such a great attitude.”
Debra Copeland, a 10-year breast cancer survivor, brought three generations – daughter Danielle Hill and 6-month-old granddaughter Destini Hill – to the survivor’s lunch.
“This is exactly what I needed,” said Copeland, who was attending her first survivor’s lunch.
Former Tupelo resident Barbara Ramsey, a 17 1/2-year survivor, came all the way from North Carolina to keep the tradition alive of going to the lunch and race with friends.
“It’s special to my heart,” Ramsey said.
Although pink was the dominant color in the room, the survivors came in all shapes, sizes and ages.
“It’s a huge lift to be around other survivors,” said Sommer Armstrong, who was only 27 when she was diagnosed nearly seven years ago. “You want to encourage everyone who’s still fighting.”

Race for the Cure
– 8 a.m. Saturday at The Mall at Barnes
Crossing
– Advance registration: noon-7 p.m.
today mall entrance by Belk’s
Men’s/Home store at The Mall at Barnes
Crossing. $20 for fun run and 5K; $5
extra for electronic chip timing.
– Race day: Registration starts 7 a.m.
$30; no chip timing available.
– More info: www.komennorthms.org