Deanna Kiesel of Findlay is the first cancer survivor to cross the finish line during the annual Race for the Cure in downtown Toledo. The elementary school guidance counselor completed yesterday's 5K race in 24 minutes, 5 seconds.
Deanna Kiesel crossed yesterday's Race for the Cure finish line first in her division, but that victory was only part of the reason for her standing ovation during the awards ceremony at Fifth Third Field.
Her pink cap and T-shirt identified her as a breast cancer survivor, one of hundreds who ran or walked in yesterday's event.
Her five-kilometer time of 24:05 was best in the survivor's division of the run.
“It's overwhelming to see all of the people in the race and realize that that many people have been able to overcome cancer to the point where they're participants in the race,” said the Findlay elementary school guidance counselor, who was diagnosed four years ago.
Nearly 11,000 people ran or walked the five-kilometer and one-mile courses through downtown Toledo.
The ninth annual event raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for breast cancer screening, treatment, and prevention in northwest Ohio, race spokesman Dana Smith said.
David Mirth of Reynoldsburg won the men's overall with a time of 15:50. The women's overall winner was Theresa Mariea, of Toledo, who ran the race in 17:49.
Dozens of people lined the race course to encourage the runners.
As the pack passed Jackson Street on the Huron Street leg, a saxophone quartet of Bowling Green State University music students played on the median.
Local cancer survivors Jeanne Aust, Helen Roberts, Jennie McAdams, and Mary Chris Skeldon, from left, make their way up Summit Street in downtown Toledo during the ninth annual Race for the Cure.
A block south, volunteer Sue Brace, a University of Toledo student, shouted encouragement. “Way to go, guys. Keep it up. Three more blocks,” she yelled.
“Thanks, that helps us,” one woman told her as she ran by.
At the finish line near Fifth Third Field, members of Erie, Mich., Girl Scout Troop 134 handed out pink roses to the survivors.
Caren Goldman of Holland carried her flower into the stadium for the awards ceremony. In her third Race for the Cure, Ms. Goldman has watched its popularity continually growing.
She said much of the race's appeal is the emotional uplift participants have when they're running in honor of a survivor, honoring the memory of someone who died from breast cancer, or feeling encouragement from the survivors.
“I think what's happening with this disease is the Baby Boom generation is coming of age. Everyone seems to know someone who has it,” she said.
For Kurt Haubrich, that someone was his wife, Tina. Diagnosed seven years ago with breast cancer, she's been cancer-free since and gave birth to their baby boy two months ago. The Toledo couple pushed his stroller in the one-mile walk.
The annual event is part of her cure, she said.
“It brings me luck when I walk with everybody,” she said. “It seems to be working.”
For Deborah Roberts of Toledo, the race is a reminder of the success of her treatment for her breast cancer, which was diagnosed in 1995.
“When I finish the race, I think about finishing my chemotherapy treatment,” she said.
For Ms. Kiesel, who trains for marathons, running has been part of her treatment.
“It was my emotional release,” she said.