It has been an emotional couple of weeks for David Berdan.
The Garrison Forest cross country coach and science teacher won the Baltimore Marathon on Oct. 12. But, it was a victory in a 5K run Sunday morning that held more meaning in his heart . Berdan captured his fifth straight Komen Maryland Race for the Cure win, highlighting the 21st annual event that has raised about $40 million for breast cancer research and programs over the past two decades.
Berdan is the backbone of a team from Garrison Forest made up of about 300 participants. Last year, Team GFS as a whole was the top school team in the state, raising $15,000 for Komen. This year, the team raised about $18,000.
"This event is so near and dear to my heart," said Berdan, whose wife lost a grandmother to breast cancer and has multiple other relatives battling the disease. "Winning the race is great, but it's not really about that. It's about finding a cure for this horrible disease. And if by winning the marathon and the Race for the Cure, I can bring more attention to the cause, then so be it."
Berdan was one of approximately 20,000 people who participated in the Race for the Cure. Along with the 5K run, participants also had the option of entering a 5K walk or a 1 mile Family Fun Walk. The event brought out runners of all ages and abilities. There were elementary school students to senior citizens who came out in support of the cause.
Many attended to support a loved one that has battled breast cancer or lost their life to the disease. Others there included survivors, those who came out for friends or coworkers, large groups, local running clubs, the Maryland State Police and area businesses.
Among the runners in the Race for the Cure was Sherry Stick. The Eldersburg resident was the first woman to cross the finish line in the 5K run. She said she races in similar events across the Baltimore area, but called Sunday's event "special and unique."
"You just feel so much more energy," Stick said. "You can hear the encouragement and music throughout the course, and it just lifts you up and makes you want to push harder."
Stick, who has participated in the Race for the Cure about a half dozen times, said this year was different as she has an aunt battling breast cancer. She also had family members participate in the walks.
"It's so uplifting when you can do something like this with your family," Stick said. "You're running for a purpose."
That was the feeling Missy Zoran had on Sunday. The Baltimore resident participated in the 5K walk with her daughters Kelsie and Erica and her sister, Shari Kain. Zoran and Kain lost their mother to breast cancer in 2007. Their group, which also included friend Gail McCloud, raised a little more than $1,000 in less than two weeks.
"The race itself is really insignificant when it comes to the event," Missy Zoran said. "I was just caught off guard by the emotional experience this was. Plus, having a history of breast cancer in the family, we felt it was important to come out and support the cause."
Komen Maryland CEO Robin Prothro said she just beamed with pride and emotion as she witnessed the "Parade of Pink" make its way around the course. Last year’s race generated $2.2 million, down from $3.1 million the previous year. Prothro is hopeful they can reach that larger milestone in 2013.
"The Race for the Cure is just a reminder to me of the amazing success we've had at Komen Maryland when it comes to battling breast cancer," Prothro said. "The camaraderie and spirit on display here each and every year is so energizing. We show people battling this horrible disease that they are not along and there is life after cancer."
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