Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas hold 5th annual 5K
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Pink Warrior Angels of Central Texas held its fifth annual Pink Warrior Dash 5K Walk/Run at the Copperas Cove City Park Saturday morning, with more than 270 registered participants.
The race occurred the last weekend before October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, starts and raised $7,223 of a $10,000 goal for the organization.
Pink Warrior Angels of Texas was founded by Julie Moser after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The purpose of PWATX is to provide support to cancer survivors and their families as they go through their diagnosis and treatment.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, according to Centers for Disease Control. About 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. In 2019, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed, along with 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer, according to Breastcancer.org, and as of January 2019, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S.
Saturday marked the fifth year of the race and saw the largest turnout of 279 people registered by the morning of the race, according to Moser.
This year’s race started at 8 a.m. and was not timed, so participants could go at their own pace. Each race participant received a medal for completing the race. Various awards were passed out for 1st Place Survivor, Most Spirited Dressed Woman and Man, Most Spirited Dressed Pet, Most Spirited Dressed Kid and Largest Group.
“Our race got started because I had a friend of mine, Wendy Sledd, who said ‘Hey you should do a 5K. You can do it. I believe in you.’ We all know how wonderful she is with that, and so the first year, we got rained out,” Moser said.
The first year, the race had maybe 50 participants, she said. It has grown every year since.
“All the money that is raised today is going to turn around and go back into our program,” Moser said. “Our programs are financial aid assistance for cancer survivors who are going through treatment, to our mentor program and we support families who might be dealing with hospice.”
Pink Warrior Angels of Texas also has two scholarship funds- the Connor Hedge Memorial Scholarship and the Marily Considine Memorial Scholarship funds.
“Reaching five years of the race is a huge milestone in the breast cancer world,” Moser said. “When somebody hits five years in the breast cancer world, their recurrence rate drops so five years is a big deal. Breast cancer survivorship for me- I’m coming on six years- and then having this the biggest it’s been ever, it means so much that we are still growing and growing in places. That’s exactly what we need everybody to know- that we are here for them, for cancer survivors.”
Copperas Cove Mayor Bradi Diaz gave a message of thanks and encouragement before awards were handed out. She explained this was the first official run/walk she had ever participated in.
“I’ve had girlfriends that have tried so hard for years to get me to participate in an event like this, and I just never was. I was intimidated and I never would,” Diaz said. “When this event came up and Julie [Moser] asked me to come out today, I thought ‘For what better cause should I participate in my first run, for this cause?’ I just want to give a shout out to Julie and her organization. Grassroots organizations like this are so important to fighting cancer and the effects of cancer. Organizations like this, every one of you guys that participate in organizations like this and support it, it’s vital to fighting cancer and supporting survivors of cancer.”
Following the awards portion, Moser dedicated the race to the late mayor, Frank Seffrood and his wife Rita, who was present to receive a photo book full of memories. Moser shared that she and Seffrood were “relay buddies” and that Seffrood was always there, even if now he wasn’t. Rita hugged Moser and Diaz and said that her husband was here in spirit. Seffrood died in late December 2018 from pancreatic cancer.
Tyra Charmant won the 1st Place Survivor award and her team, Tyra’s Tatas, won the Biggest Team Award. Saturday marked the one year anniversary since Charmant had finished treatment after being diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, which is a kind of breast cancer that does not have any of the receptors that are commonly found in other forms of breast cancer, like estrogen, progesterone or HER2 (human epidermal growth factor). Doctors have fewer ways to treat the cancer, but chemotherapy is still an option.
“It shows I’m a survivor. All I went through; I still can get up the next day and complete something. I finished. So, this race means that to me. I started and I finished and I’m still here, so I’m a survivor,” Charmant said. “So, that’s what Pink Warriors does for me. It’s a community that I have the same thing. Might not be the same cancer, but it’s a cancer and we’ve all been through the same thing- chemo, radiation, surgery, loss of hair.”
Charmant’s team was made up of family, friends and her former colleagues from her 20 years spent in the U.S. Army. She said she just asked them to show up and they did, with an additional 19 people walking with her virtually from other states.
Those interested in donating to PWATX can still donate on website at https://pinkwarriorangels.org/.
On October 5, Pink Warrior Angels Central Texas and Marily Considine will be honored at Considine’s alma mater Tarleton State University, with a donation for Pink Warrior Angels Central Texas that will go towards the scholarship in Considine’s name. Considine lost her fight against breast cancer in February 2019.
Home Base Lumber and Moving with the Military are hosting a Pink Block Party on October 12, to benefit Pink Warrior Angels, and on October 18, a fashion show “Runway of Hope” will feature 21 survivors and will benefit the Pink Warrior Angels as well.