T-shirts are here!

I can’t believe it, but we are in our warehouse space and the Race t-shirts arrived THIS MORNING! We’ll post a photo of them on Facebook, and I’ll be wearing it on Channel 7’s Daybreak tomorrow morning. I can’t wait for you to see them!
When will you get yours, you ask? If you have already registered, you’ll probably get it in just a handful of days. Our first group will go out NEXT WEEK! If you haven’t registered, be sure to do so soon. The earlier you register, the earlier you can show off your shirt!
Don’t forget to come party with us on Sunday afternoon. We’ll be at the Promenade at Chenal from 2-4 on the 24th. There will be music, food, and fun. The little train will be running for the kids, and you can register for ONLY $20. This is the only time we offer a discount on registration each year, so don’t miss out! I hope to see everyone there! Wear your party pants!

Love,
Ashley
2014 Race Chair

You betta’ CHECK yourself, before you wreck yourself!

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Ladies!  Did you know there is new and more extensive information available on doing your own self breast checks?  There is!  It can be found at komenarkansas.org.  And did you know that you do not have to be 40, or even 30, to have breast cancer?  You don’t.  Just ask Devon Hale and Lindsey Hale Bender, this year’s Honorary Survivors.  We KNOW that finding breast cancer early leads to a 99% survival rate for five years.  So, why aren’t we getting our annual mammograms?  Why aren’t we taking a few minutes to learn how to check ourselves, and then doing it regularly?

We have lots of great excuses.  I don’t have time, I can’t get away from work, I don’t have a babysitter for the kids, I can’t afford it, I’m afraid of what I’ll find,  I can always do it next month, I’ll wait until my next dentist appointment, the moon isn’t in the right phase . . . . . .  We can always think of an excuse.  But are the excuses worth the risk of not doing it?  ALL women (and not just women) are at risk.  ALL OF US.  Breast cancer knows no ethnic, religious, or socioeconomic boundaries.  But, with regular checks and mammograms, we’ll find it early.  And we’ll have a 99% chance or surviving it.  

I’m writing this particular blog post because I’ve been volunteering with Komen for 8 years, but I only recently started checking myself regularly.  My grandmother had breast cancer for pete’s sake!  And I had a breast biopsy (benign) when I was 25.  Plus, I’m volunteering for Susan stinking Komen and raising money for breast cancer research!  What was I waiting for?!  If I wasn’t informed enough to do it, how many people are??  

Now, I know what is normal for me.  I know how to check for changes in my own breasts.  And I feel more confident in, not only my health, but my ability to take charge and take care of myownself.  And, I want to say out loud that, I wasn’t doing it either.  I talked about it.  But I didn’t DO it.  Please don’t risk your health any longer.  Learn how to check yourownself at komenarkansas.org.  And get your mammograms.  Every year!  I mean, do you know where breast cancer would stand if we paid as much attention to our breasts as men pay to them?!  I can assure you we’d be finding it early!  And we’d be SURVIVING!  

You’re all princesses,

Ashley – Race Chair 2014

Allow me to introduce myself

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In my first blog post, I said I would tell you more about myself.  So, in case you’re curious about how I ended up being the 2014 Race Chair, here goes.

I joined the Race Committee eight years ago as a volunteer on Ann Brown’s Pasta Party committee. Ann was my boss at work, but that didn’t stop her from telling me what to do outside of work sometimes, too!  Errin Dean was Race Chair that year, and I was really touched by the story of her involvement with Komen.  

Two years later, I found myself heading up the Pasta Party committee.  Despite the fact that Ann, my mentor at work and in Komen volunteering, became Race Chair, it never occurred to me that I one day would.  I loved the Pasta Party.  And it became a family affair for us.  Days before the event, my parents swooped into town.  My Dad didn’t leave my side for two days, helping with anything I needed.  He’s really the best assistant ever.  And, I couldn’t have been doing Pasta Party work for two straight days if my Momma hadn’t been willing to keep my babies the entire time.  Two different years, there were 6 and 8 week old babies with whom to contend.  On Pasta Party day, my husband left his incredibly busy work to be my second assistant until well after the party ended.  My efforts would not have been possible, and certainly not continued through the years, if it weren’t for these three people.  And, as you can see in this photo of my parents right after the Race one year, I wasn’t always easy on them. 

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I am not a breast cancer survivor.  My grandmother was, prior to passing away from other causes.  Another woman who taught me a few things (whether she knows it or not), is a survivor.  Jo Ann Anderson has absolutely the best attitude, about life and tennis playing, that a person could have.  She taught me that you can have fun playing even if you lose on the court.  And, that you can speak your mind but still be a caring person.  She’s simply good stuff.  And a person I’ll always admire.  I do this for them.  And because I hope that, before my daughter needs to do self breast checks, there will be a cure.  And in hopes that my sisters and I are not faced with the battle Errin Dean fought alongside her sister.  I do not imagine I would have the strength and grace she displays when sharing her story.

I’m still convinced Ellen Kreth called the wrong number when she asked me if I would be willing to serve as Race Chair.  But I’m SO thankful she did!  It has been quite a ride so far, and I am having trouble believing we are something like 54 days away from the 2014 Race for the Cure.  I hope to see you all there on October 4, to celebrate the women who have survived, those who lost their fight, and those whose future fight might affect us.  We must continue to MOVE.  BE MOVED, and keep working toward a cure!  

Wear your invisible crown today (or your real one)!  You’re all princesses to me!

Ashley – 2014 Race Chair

The THEME for this year . . .

Y’all!  I thought we were saving the Race theme for this year to announce at our annual press conference.  Then, I saw it on Facebook!  So, I wanted to make MY official announcement here.  Because here, I can explain how I described my feelings about the race.  And how Thoma Thoma turned those into our THEME.  Here you go . . .
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Chairing the Pasta Party for so many years, I was one of few on the Race Committee who got to experience the race like everyone else.  I didn’t “work” that morning.  I came downtown with my family and friends, just like all of you.  And I’ve always found the experience intensely moving.  Whether you are a survivor, or have no family history of breast cancer, being downtown is powerful.  It is 40,000 people (many of whom are women) coming together in support.  When you sign up, you think you are supporting a charity.  A good cause.  But on Race morning, you are supporting people.  You are there with the survivors and their families.  They are easy to pick out, in their pink shirts. Some of them wear signs saying they are 20 year survivors, and some are bald and you know they are in the midst of their fight.  And you see the people who are fighting along side them.  They hold her hand, or their group dresses the same.  They wear a shirt with her name, or they just walk alongside her.  You know she isn’t fighting alone.  And you hope that, God forbid you find yourself in her shoes, you will also have people fighting with you.

The energy generated surrounding this event is palpable.  Anyone exposed to it cannot help but BE MOVED.  MOVE. speaks to the action and foresight  that will inspire the work that remains to be done.  In 20 years, Arkansas has come a long way.  But there is much work to be done.  And we need to keep moving, keep working, and keep fighting.

Ashley Hurst – Race Chair 2014

Registration is OPEN!

I’m Ashley Hurst. As this year’s Race Chair, I’d like to be the first to officially welcome you to Race season! For me, Race season begins when we can start to sign up to support this great cause. When we get to register to be in downtown Little Rock, on a Saturday morning in October, and feel the incomparable energy that our Race for the Cure generates. It’s one of the most amazing and emotional things I’ve ever experienced, and I hope you’ll be there with me on October 4, 2014.

I’m going to share lots of new things with all of you in the weeks to come. I’ll introduce myself further, tell you about my family, share the theme for this Race, and fill you in on the exciting changes for this year. I’ll share photos and logos and all kinds of fun stuff.

For today, I want to encourage you to register. I can’t show you this year’s RACE SHIRT YET, but I can tell you it’s a completely new design. I can also say that mailing out of Race packets will begin in late August. Register by then to be one of the first in the state of Arkansas to get your shirt!

Ashley Hurst – 2014 Race Chair

Signing Off – Race Chair Mike on running his first RFTC for his mom, Mollie Gavigan

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(Brothers Joe, Race Chair Mike, and Bill… Thank you Shawna Long for taking this photo)

A bunch of my family drove in from Nashville, TN to celebrate my mom Mollie Gavigan and my grandmother Molly Burd. We lost both to breast cancer. We were also celebrating my new “cousin-in-law’s” mom Lizzy Bearden who also lost her life to breast cancer.

Your first Race for the Cure, you do it for you, someone you love, someone you lost or just because someone asked you to come.

As the race goes on, as you see those survivors clad in pink, the dancing firemen, funny team shirts, pink wigs, you realize it’s bigger than just you. You realize that we all come downtown as one for each other, for a common goal to someday make this world cancer free.

I loved Saturday. I love the event and everything it stands for. My brothers and my uncle and I all ran together. We hammed it up with all the bands, the cheerleaders, the firemen, all of the amazing groups cheering us and all the participants. We crossed the finish line together with big smiles and saluted our mom.

Then a young lady came up to us and said that she had been running behind us for the whole Race. That this was her first Race after her last treatment. She said that we helped her have fun and that she loved our antics. Well, the waterworks almost started flowing again, but I was finally out of tears. I wish I knew her name, because her nice words put a perfect bow on our run together.

So, we all did, we all went ALL IN for those we loved, each other and those we want to celebrate more birthdays. I cannot wait for next October so I can do it all over again. BUT this time for Race Chair Ashley.

Signing off – Race Chair Mike

- Race chair mike

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How a 3x survivor mom saved her 26 yr old daughter, who saved her 29 yr old sister.

Yesterday Becky Hale and her daughters Lindsay Hale Bender and Devon Hale spoke at our Race Committee meeting.

Becky was first diagnosed with breast cancer around 20 years ago, caught it early and was able to carry on with her life.  That is until she found breast cancer again.  Like the first time, she caught it early and thought she was in the clear.  Well, she found it a third time a few years later, and this time is was more serious.  She had to go through chemo and radiation, but she kicked it again, and now is in remission.  And loving life.

Enter her daughter Devon, 26 years old.  Through her own vigilance and the knowledge of her mother’s struggles with breast cancer, she found a lump, and it too was cancerous.  The day after she went into remission, her 29 year old sister Lindsay was given bad news.  She too had breast cancer.

Lindsay had seen her mom’s experience, been there and supported her sister Devon, so she had gone to her doctors to have a series of tests expecting to have a preventive mastectomy.  Once there, the doctors found cancer in both breasts.

This family has faced breast cancer 5 too many times.  The daughters are too young, and no mom should have to battle 3 times herself.  Through their support for each other and especially their vigilance, they helped save each other’s life.

I know many women regardless if they can afford healthcare or not, just choose not to regularly check themselves.  Sometimes out of lack of knowledge, or fear of the result, or unfortunately inconvenience.  I hope the story of the Hale women will impact someone out there to start checking regularly, see their doctors., and spread the message to their friends and family.

Thank you Becky, Devon and Lindsay for sharing your story.  Look for them on KARK tomorrow morning at 6:45am.

- Race Chair Mike, register at http://www.komenarkanas.org or the Race Space in the Pleasant Ridge shopping center on Cantrell Rd.