Just over 9,000 people came out Saturday (April 26) morning to walk, jog and run in the Race for the Cure at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade Mall in Rogers. This is the 16th year the event has been raising awareness for those fighting breast cancer in Northwest Arkansas.
"I always thought it's not a part of who I am, it does not need to touch me, and I came today knowing that it has touched me and I am now a part of this community," said Amy Bates, a breast cancer survivor.
Bates was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2013. Her journey with the disease led her to have a double mastectomy, but she said that was not the hardest part.
"The hardest thing is for you to tell yourself you have it, the next hardest thing is to tell you children," she said.
The mother of two said she and her family got through the hardships using humor and faith. She was given the all clear by her doctors two weeks ago.
"I had my first scan and I'm clear and good to go," she said. "I only wish that people had the same prognosis as I did."
First time volunteer Dawnna Bowen chose not to lace up her tennis shoes, but roll up her sleeves and help out Saturday in Rogers.
"I am overwhelmed with it," Bowen said. "I did not expect to know so many women walking myself that are survivors. My sister has had breast cancer twice and she is a survivor now, that definitely makes me want to do more."
The Race for the Cure brought out thousands to participate in the 10K, 5K, family fun walk and dog walk.
Bates said seeing all the survivors and those still battling come out to the race only pushes her to help out more.
"When you are faced with a difficult disease, it changes your outlook and changes your priorities," she said. "You know I won, and by the grace of God I won, but I look around and see other people who are in the phases of not winning, and it just means that I need to work harder."
75% of the proceeds from Saturday's race will go to twelve local agencies helping men and women fighting breast cancer in Northwest Arkansas. The other 25% will go to the Susan G. Komen National Foundation to find a cure.
The 10K survivor winner was Jenna Sullivan of Springdale. The female 10K winner was Valeria Rena of Springdale, and the male winner was Isai Carranza of Garfield.
In the 5K, survivor Michelle Huff of Evening Shade took first place. Abrena Rena of Springdale won the female 5K, and the male winner was Brody Hill of Bentonville.