When the race becomes personal

13th annual North Idaho Race for the Cure attracts 15,000

Print Article

Martha Armitage, diagnosed with breast cancer in August, holds her daughter Isa Armitage after finishing the 3-mile race.

COEUR d'ALENE - For years, Martha Armitage ran or walked the North Idaho Race for the Cure, but never as a survivor, never as a couple battling breast cancer themselves.

But in August, Armitage was diagnosed with the disease, so when the 38-year-old lined up at the starting line at North Idaho College on Sunday, everything about the race seemed different.

It seemed more personal.

"It's very emotional," she said after crossing the finish line, flanked by friends and family all clad in pink, about tackling the race for the first time as a survivor. "But you have great friends and support. They can get you through it. They really can."

Just over 15,000 people, most like Armitage's friends all dressed in pink, took to the streets during the 13th annual Race for the Cure to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. While the annual tradition raises money for cancer research, the event acts as support system for those facing the challenge as well as celebration for those who have beaten it.

More than 200 of the participants were survivors, and throngs of people dressed in elaborate costumes while everyone cheered everyone else on during the 3-mile course that wrapped from the college along the lake shore to downtown and back again.

"It really is about celebrating life and those who have lost the battle to breast cancer, or are going through it or know someone who is," said Molly Nota, race manager. "It's a really powerful day."

One of the survivors was Wilma Westlund, 73, who beat the disease 20 years ago and crossed the finish line with her daughter Laura Hill and granddaughter Emma Hill.

A nurse, Westlund not only has personal experience - she deals with the disease frequently in the medical field. It all adds up, she said, to an emotional, reflective day.

"It's very satisfying," she said after slapping a high-five with North Idaho College wrestler and race day volunteer Bryan Smith at the finish line. "You don't ever forget (an experience like) that."

The race is also just that, a race. Matthew Mattison was the top male finisher, crossing in 17 minutes and 30 seconds, while Nancy Ullrich-Merril took top female honors with a time of 20:48. But with around 200 volunteers helping, the event was more about camaraderie than clock time.

"I'm not in it for the time," said Denise Levi, as she walked down Rosenberry Drive. Levi doesn't have anyone in her immediate circles directly affected by the disease, but wanted to join the cause as a way to help out. "It's to see everyone dressed up ... It's good to see all the support."

Entering race day, the total amount raised was around $27,000. The deadline to raise cash runs through Oct. 31, so the amount is increasing daily. From the total, 75 percent of it will stay in the local community for patient assistant, screenings, outreach and education. The remainder will go toward national research.

For Armitage, after she was diagnosed, her friends set up a pledge drive on her behalf. The goal was $1,000, but after four weeks, they'd raised nearly $11,000.

"It just brings it home," her husband, Brett Armitage, said of seeing Martha's friends and family rally around her, as well as the scores of other people dealing with the same, difficult circumstances. "What I've realized is everyone has a need to give and support, you just have to find that outlet."

Wilma Westlund, 73, who beat the disease 20 years ago, prepares for a high-five from North Idaho College wrestler and race day volunteer Bryan Smith Sunday at the finish line of the North Idaho Race for the Cure fun run.

 

Sea of pink by the lake: Participants dressed in pink walk across City Park during the race.

Print Article

Read More Local News

TAKEOFF for LANDING

April 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press POST FALLS — Out of litigation and on to new life. That summarizes the status of the multi-use Post Falls Landing site with the just-completed sale of the 142-slip marina on the Spokane River and 1....

Comments

Read More

Cd’A may fork over funds for different types of public art

April 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press The forks are not named for a waterway or a highway intersection. They cannot be used to spear peas. The two oversized eating utensils, stationed along Fourth Street in Coeur d’Alene’s midtown neig...

Comments

Read More

Pat Acuff: A shy guy who loved real estate

April 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press COEUR d’ALENE — Everyone has at least one deep-seated secret. Pat Acuff confided that his secret is shyness. Shyness? Really? This is a guy who played for years in a popular rock band, is surround...

Comments

Read More

Wanted Cd’A felon arrested

April 26, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Law enforcement task forces on both sides of the border teamed up to locate and arrest a 28-year-old Coeur d'Alene man who is a convicted felon, had a felony probation violation warrant and was armed...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X