Over $10,000 raised to expand services, aid patients
Hundreds of hands reached for the sky Saturday morning at the Solomons Medical Center as runners and walkers in Calvert Memorial Hospital’s 5K Breast Cancer Challenge warmed up to Candy Coburn’s song of hope and courage Pink Warrior.
World Gym trainer John Carlos told the crowd, “Remember, it’s not how you start. It’s how you finish.”
They came with family and friends to remember those who lost the fight, to celebrate those who survived, to encourage those who continue to struggle and to support the hospital’s Center for Breast Care that opened in January.
The breast center brings together a team of breast health experts – including breast radiologists from Johns Hopkins, with an experienced navigator in one convenient location. It offers Southern Maryland women the same level of care they would find in a major metropolitan area right here in our community.
Mary Ann Jester, 31, of Lexington Park lost a close friend six months ago to breast cancer. She was only 40. She came with her boyfriend Steven Austin, 33, of Great Mills, whose mom is currently in a clinical trail in Texas for breast cancer that has spread to her lungs and liver.
“I’m walking for all the women in my life,” said Ken Patton of Lusby who came with his three-year-old son, Logan, and his wife, Kelly, whose 91-year-old grandmother is also a breast cancer survivor.
Calvert Elementary School teacher Melissa Rottman said, “It’s great to do something here locally to support the cause.” She had breast cancer 15 years ago and participates in the support group at Calvert’s breast center.
“We’re doing it because we’ve been blessed with no one having breast cancer in our family,” said Melli Lantz, 53, of Huntingtown as she stood with her daughter, Amanda Hernandez of Sunderland. Just then her six-year-old granddaughter Luz said, “Come on Nana, I’ll race you,” and off they went.
A flurry of pink flashed by as the race got underway. The signature color of breast cancer awareness was proudly sported on everything from shirts and shoelaces to headbands and baseball caps. For the fashion fearless, there was even pink-striped hair and a pink feather boa. It was as though a pink ribbon circled Solomons as the group followed the 3.1-mile course around the tiny island.
Girl Scout cadets from Troop #1322 of Lusby blew up balloons, passed out T-Shirts and stood at the finish line cheering and clapping with their leader Dawn Brown as part of the community service toward earning their “In the Pink” badge. Girl Scouts from Calvert, Huntingtown and Patuxent high schools with Troop #2552 covered the water station at the end of the island.
First-place finisher Bob Bowman, 48, of Huntingtown crossed the pink ribbon at 20:23. “I’m very happy,” he said, “I haven’t run a 5K in about 25 years.” Close on his heels was 15-year-old Rachel Murree of Solomons, who was the top female overall at 21:47.
Some ran across, others walked side by side. They pushed strollers. One dad carried his little girl on his back. They greeted each other with sweaty smiles and happy hugs.
Afterward, participants enjoyed free refreshments, including Italian ice donated by Rita’s in Solomons, and seated massage in the rejuvenation tent outside while they awaited their results. Inside, the hospital offered a host of free head-to-toe screenings as part of the family friendly event.
Joining Calvert Memorial Hospital as sponsors were World Gym and Fitness Centers, Calvert Medical Imaging Center, the Brandon Greening Foundation for Breast Cancer Awareness, the Calvert County Health Department, Dickinson Jewelers and Fran’s Nu Image, which offers fittings of prostheses, bras, specialized apparel, lymphedema products, wigs, turbans and scarves at Calvert’s breast center.
Throughout October, a portion from sales of pink jewelry at Dickinson Jewelers will also benefit the hospital’s breast center. On Oct. 15, they’re inviting all divas to attend “The Fight Like A Diva Party” from 7-9 p.m. at the Dunkirk location. To get your free ticket, call 301-855-8770 or email Kathy@dickinsonjewlers.com.
“Thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors; the hospital and community volunteers who helped spread the word about the event; the hospital team that organized the details; the many generous individuals (walkers and runners) who committed time and money to participate; especially the breast cancer survivors who inspired our event and came out to support one another and the Center for Breast Care,” said Kasia Sweeney, director of public relations at CMH.
Sweeney said proceeds from the race, which topped $10,000, will be used to expand the support services available to all patients of the breast center as well as to develop a special fund to assist uninsured, low-income women.
Other activities are planned throughout October to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On Oct. 12, share a casual dinner with friends at Calvert Memorial Hospital’s KeepWell Center and hear Dr. Naji Khouri, director for breast imaging at the Johns Hopkins Avon Breast Center and other members of the CMH breast center medical team discuss the latest advances in diagnosing and treating breast cancer. The event is free but space is limited. Pre-registration is required by Oct. 8. To sign up, call 410-535-8233.
Additionally, the breast center and Calvert Medical Imaging Center are offering M&M Fridays in October. Sign up for a mammogram at CMIC on any Friday in October and get a free 15-minute seated massage after the exam plus a free osteoporosis screening, complimentary refreshments and special gifts. To make an appointment, call the breast center at 410-414-4700.
The 1st and 2nd place female winners by age group were as follows: (10 & under) Megan Springer, 10, Port Republic at 29:00 and Samantha Fowler, 9, Huntingtown at 37:22; (11-19) Katie Wilding, 14, St. Leonard at 28:59 and Micaella Sweeney, 16, Lusby at 29:56; (20-29) Ashlea Gramstorff, 20, Huntingtown at 28:57 and Pam Clark, 23, Chesapeake Beach at 32:41; (30-39) Kathleen Hammett, 39, Hollywood at 23:45 and Dawn Lister, 39, St. Leonard at 25:32; (40-49) Robin Read, 49, Lusby at 26:29 and Christine Fratantuono, 42, Prince Frederick at 26:39; (50-59) Debra Spatz, 51, Port Republic at 22:53 and Jennifer Arthur, 50, Sunderland at 27:49 and (60 & over) Gerry Wassman, 66, Linthicum Heights at 51:30 and Thelma Martinez, 68, of California at 51:43.
The 1st and 2nd place male winners by age group were as follows: (10 & under) Ben Springer, 8, Port Republic at 45:50 and Austin Fowler, 9, Huntingtown at 53:06; (11-19) Andrew MacWilliams, 16, St. Leonard at 25:05 and Christopher Crunkleton, 13, Owings at 28:55; (20-29) David Schindler, 28, North Beach at 26:34 and Ben Banyez, 24, of Huntingtown at 39:08; (30-39) Daniel Lund, 38, Owings at 21:44 and Jason Barry, 34, Prince Frederick at 27:34; (40-49) Mark Wilding, 43, St. Leonard at 21:56 and Tim Wolfe, 45, Lusby at 24:31; (50-59) Mike Deangelis, 53, Lusby at 41:11 and Jeff O’Neill, 51, Leonardtown at 55:10 and (60 & over) Don Brenneman, 61, Prince Frederick at 22:54 and Francis Kozik, 61, Chesapeake Beach at 58:58.