Record-breaking turnout raises $15,000 for breast center
Despite a decidedly chilly start, a record-breaking 610 participants turned out on Oct. 1 for Calvert Memorial Hospital’s 2nd Annual 5K Breast Cancer Challenge in Solomons raising over $15,000 for the Center for Breast Care at CMH.
“The event was a fantastic success,” said Kasia Sweeney, associate vice president for corporate communication at CMH. “The turnout was above and beyond anything we expected and couldn’t be more pleased.”
They came in all shapes and sizes – many were survivors surrounded by their friends and families and many came to honor the late Dr. Sheldon Goldberg. Some have just begun their journey on the road to recovery. But for all of them, it was personal in the fight against breast cancer.
“The walk/run is a way to turn their feelings into something positive,” said Linda Walton, the breast center’s navigator. “It’s focused less on competition and more on community. Our goal is to make the fundraiser an annual event the first Saturday of October, which is dedicated to breast cancer awareness.”
Medical experts estimate one woman in eight will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women.
The Center for Breast Care at CMH was the dream of Dr. Goldberg, whose sudden death in a rafting accident this past summer devastated the Calvert County community. He was the driving force behind the breast center, working tirelessly for two years, planning and organizing the myriad of details involved in creating the facility that would become the first of its kind in Southern Maryland.
Just before the race began, Goldberg’s wife, Dr. Ramona Crowley-Goldberg, asked for a moment of silence for her husband, the courageous men and women who have bravely faced cancer and Brandon Greening, who passed away in May after a valiant battle with breast cancer. Greening was a founding sponsor of the race.
“My beloved husband had a mission,” said Crowley-Goldberg. “His dream was that one day, Calvert County would have its own medical center that would be devoted to supporting and healing women and men with breast cancer. His vision was that patients would benefit from skilled professionals who provide excellent quality care here in our own community. These medical professionals would devote their work and their professional learning expressly to breast cancer. Sheldon’s hope was that a center for breast care would serve patients and their families, not just with state-of-the-art imaging, surgery and oncology, but with support groups and educational programs – a well-planned comprehensive program.”
Crowley-Goldberg thanked CMH for supporting her husband’s vision, which was realized in January 2010 when the center opened with Dr. Goldberg as its medical director. Noting that over the last three years $222,000 has been raised for the Center for Breast Care at CMH, Crowley-Goldberg added that $52,000 of that amount came from a memorial fund established to honor her late husband.
“Thank you to everyone for your support,” she said. “Your help in promoting breast cancer awareness may save countless others from the hardship of this disease.”
The overall winner, Jordan Blakenship, 14, of St. Leonard, ran for his best friend’s father. “I did it for my buddy, Dakota,” he said.
Dakota’s father, Brandon Greening, was only 38 when he died from breast cancer. Although breast cancer is thought to be a disease that only afflicts women, Greening became a strong advocate for early screening for both women and men. The Brandon Greening Foundation sponsored the race along with World Gym and Fitness Centers and Calvert Medical Imaging Center.
Together, 610 pairs of feet sprinted, jogged, power-walked and strolled the 3.1-mile course around the tiny island. Some wore pink to commemorate the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Others wore team T-shirts, like the group whose read: “Fight 2 Save 2nd Base, Hitting It Out of the Park for Paige.” A team member explained the aim was to show support for a friend who has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
“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 Margaret Fowler, director of community wellness at CMH.
She went on to add, “I’d also like to thank the parents and students from Our Lady Star of the Sea school who served as race monitors and cheered on participants.”