The Komen Phoenix Race for the Cure© has become one of the highlights of the fall. The weather starts to get nice, and thousands of Phoenicians join together to raise money to fight breast cancer by running and walking 3.1 miles in downtown Phoenix. If you have participated in the Race, you will recall the incredible energy and emotion that goes along with the Race. Many runners are breast cancer survivors, and many other runners are running in honor of someone who is fighting breast cancer or who succumbed to it. The pink shirts worn by survivors are motivating and inspiring. It is impossible not to be moved, and it is very gratifying to know that the Race raises tens of thousands of dollars for use in the fight against breast cancer.
Did you know, though, that Junior League of Phoenix brought the Race to Phoenix? Thirteen years ago, three Junior League members lost one of their friends to breast cancer. Lesley Lyons-Newell, Rita Dickinson and Beth Carson determined that something needed to be done to raise awareness about the disease. They joined forces with Banner Health to bring the Race to Phoenix in 1993. The first Race had 1,500 participants (there are now close to 40,000!) and raised $65,000. The Race has grown dramatically and is the signature fundraiser for the Komen Foundation Phoenix Affiliate. In 2005, the Komen Phoenix Affiliate was able to grant $1.2 million to research, education, screening and treatment programs. Approximately 75% of the money remained in Central and Northern Arizona to help the medically underserved, and the remaining 25% went to breast cancer research through the Komen Foundation Award and Research Grant Program.
For 2005, the three Junior League founders of the Phoenix Race were the Honorary Chairs of the event. The Junior League of Phoenix was recognized as a Founding Local Sponsor.