More than 15,000 race to help fight breast cancer - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

More than 15,000 race to help fight breast cancer in Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

More than 15,000 people made their way to Cedar Rapids Sunday morning to help fight breast cancer. It was all a part of the Especially For You Race Against Breast Cancer. The race raises money to provide mammograms and other breast care services for people who can't afford them. This year, people from 35 states took part in the 23rd annual race. Mary Wetherell was diagnosed with breast cancer in July. Wetherell walked in the race with 90 friends and family members.

"My boss from comfort care paid for 90 people, family and friends, to walk in this walk with me. It was overwhelming," Wetherell said.

Wetherell joined many other men and women that have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Marla Naeve is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed in 2008.

"I had an aggressive form of breast cancer. I went through actually a year and a half of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation," Naeve said.

Naeve said she had no family history of breast cancer up until that point. Two months after she was diagnosed, her mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer.

"It's kind of a hard thing to do, to call her up and say 'Marla, guess what? I have some news to tell you. I have breast cancer with you'," said Naeve's mom, Beatrice Gavin. "After that we were like a team. We were going through the same thing at almost the same time."

Sunday, both Gavin and Naeve walked with family members for the Especially For You race. The mother and daughter both said the walk was a bonding experience.

"It was another nice experience. I just want to send the message out to people to get a mammogram every year. Don't let a year go by without doing it," Gavin said.

Both Gavin and Naeve along with many other cancer survivors wanted to get that message out. They wanted to make sure people knew to self-check and get a mammogram once a year. Educating others all while walking to make sure people who can't afford those breast-care services would be able to. 

"Although cancer is one of those very tragic illnesses the spirit of this event is a celebration," said Tim Charles, Mercy Medical Center president. "Today, we have more and more individuals that are surviving, who have had breast cancer."

This year, the Especially For You race raised $370,000. Last year, it helped 773 women receive services in Linn County.

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