Thousands of people crowded the downtown Toledo painting it pink Sunday morning as they cheered loudly while walking, running, or standing by to sounds of band music in an annual charity effort to help find a cure for breast cancer.
"I love it! I wouldn't miss it for the world, thanks to my daughter and granddaughter!" exclaimed Ramona Swanger, 84, of Monclova Township, minutes after Lorna Magrum, 47, of Malinta, Ohio, her oldest surviving daughter, pushed her mom's wheelchair past the finishing line of the 3.1-mile course of the 19th Annual Komen Northwest Ohio Race for the Cure.
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Held by the northwest Ohio affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast-health charity, the largest charity event in northwest Ohio attracted about 17,000 registered participants and about 700 volunteers, according to Mary Westphal, executive director of the affiliate. The 5-kilometer run/walk started at 9:30 a.m. at Monroe and North Summit streets; the finishing line was at Washington and South Summit streets.
"I hope I am an inspiration to some of the rest of these people," Ms. Swanger said.
And that's exactly what the 27-year breast cancer survivor is for her family.
"She's given me hope and inspiration over the years," Mrs. Magrum said of her mother. "I go every year for a mammogram as a precaution because I know [breast cancer] can run in the family," she said
Mrs. Swanger was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1985, three days before Christmas, she said. She had surgery right away and went back to work, retiring a year ago from a Kroger in Swanton after 17 years as a cashier. Before that, she was a machinist for 20 years at a factory in Whitehouse.
"They wanted to send me home [from the hospital] so I could spend Christmas with my family, but I said, 'I can miss one holiday so I can have many more','' Mrs. Swanger said. "So I had the surgery right away and I've had 27 of them [Christmases]."
Mrs. Magrum said she had been bringing her mom tho the annual event for the last four years. Her mother has to use a wheelchair for the race because of respiratory problems, she said.
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The two women and Trista Johnson, 23, of Swanton, Mrs. Swanger's granddaughter who is a University of Findlay student, participated in the race in celebration of Mrs. Swanger and in memory of Laura Pilliod, of Swanton, Mrs. Swanger's oldest daughter, who died of brain cancer in 2009 at the age of 60, Mrs. Magrum said. They were in the company of Lisa Schaller, 49, of Whitehouse, a graduate student and graduate teaching assistant at Bowling Green State University, who walked in the event with them.
They were wearing family-team T-shirts, similar to team shirts worn by other participants. Others were with teams representing area organizations such as high schools and corporations. According to Ms. Westphal, the largest overall team award went to ProMedica and the largest high school team award went to Anthony Wayne High School.
Those who ran the race faced some tough competition, participants said.
"From a runner's standpoint, there was a lot of competition here, a lot of good runners, " said Tim Odenweller, 35, of Toledo, a manufacturing business manger. "I enjoyed it a lot. It's a good course and well organized."
Mr. Odenweller added that he thought he did well in the race by setting a personal record, with 20 minutes and 25 seconds, which he hoped could place him in the top five for his age group.
"I think the race was great," said Jen Inkrott, 33, of Bluffton, Ohio, one of four sisters who ran in the race in support of their grandmother, Velma Salisbury, 85, of Ottawa, Ohio, a participant in the walk.
"I've done other cities before and I think Toledo is great. There is a lot of things going on, a lot of people, a lot of bands, and a lot of cheering on, a lot of encouragement from people on the sidelines," Ms. Inkrott, a retail manager, went on to say. "And I think it's a tough run."
Special recognition was awarded to the following team winners:
Medical/Healthcare (1-100 employees) – Team Kat Northwest Ohio Gastroenterology Associates – 22 on team
Medical/Healthcare (101-250 employees – The Bluffton Hospital Cancer Crushers - 26 on team
Medical Healthcare (250 or more employees) – ProMedica – 928 on team
Small Business (35 employees or fewer) – Team Extreme – From Fitness By Vince – 194 on team
Mid-Size (250 employees) – Eagle’s Wings Soaring For The Cure – 34 on team
Corporate (500+ employees) – Owens Corning – 183 on team
Community Organizations – Uaw Local 1435 – 79 on team
Faith-Based Organizations – Memorial Lutheran - 20 on team
Schools – Penta Small Animal Care – 31on team
University – Team Cd3 - University Of Toledo– 69 on team
High School Team Challenge, Anthony Wayne High School - AW For The Cure - 356 on team
Government Agency Largest New Team – Lucas County Wellness Team – 18 on team
Largest First-Time Team – The T-Town Z-Team - 50 on team
Overall female runner winner: Docus Chesang, 24, of Sylvania, 17:43
Overall male runner winner: Philip Lagat, 29, of Sylvania, 16.37