Run aids breast cancer fight

For Rebecca Raffan, 17, it’s never been a question of if but a question of when.

For Rebecca Raffan, 17, it’s never been a question of if but a question of when.

Rebecca’s mother, Sharon, is a five-year breast cancer survivor, her aunt is a 10-year survivor and her grandmother is a 20-year survivor. She does not speak of the disease as a conditional event in her future.

“We want to support research and development so when I get it there will be a cure,” she said.

The Raffans, who live in Duanesburg, volunteer to support Susan G. Komen For the Cure, a nonprofit focused on fighting breast cancer. Saturday, they helped run the food and beverage tent at the 16th annual Komen Northeastern New York Race For the Cure at the Empire State Plaza.

Lynette Stark, the executive director of the Northeastern New York affiliate of Komen For the Cure, said this year’s event, which featured a 5K race and a 2-mile family walk, had approximately 4,500 participants, up from 4,150 last year. Stark said the race is both a fundraiser and a breast cancer awareness-raising event. This year the race raised about $300,000, up from $250,000 last year.

“We had a great, great outpouring today,” Stark said.

Sharon Raffan said it was very gratifying to see all of the people participating. She said she has taken a genetic test that indicated that she has a high probability of having breast cancer again. The test showed it was also very likely she’d have passed the trait on to at least one of her two daughters.

“I’ve promised my daughters that I would do everything I could to find a cure, so they won’t have to go through this,” she said.

teachable moment

Stark said after the race Saturday, while awards were being given to the top finishers, that volunteers from her organization were roving through the crowd testing participants’ knowledge of breast cancer and giving out prizes.

“We have thousands and thousands of people here, which gives us a built-in audience to teach a whole big group of people about breast health and breast cancer,” she said.

Because of her increased risk, Rebecca Raffan said she’ll be getting annual mammograms starting at age 30. She’ll also be vigilant and maintain proper nutrition.

Some of the participants in the run Saturday know firsthand the potentially deadly consequences of breast cancer.

The Deeb family, from Wynantskill, participated in honor of their mother, Lynn Deeb, who died from breast cancer in 2007. The family, which includes seven brothers and two sisters, and their friends formed a team of about 40 people who participated in the run.

The Deeb team wore black shirts with the words “hope” and “faith” written in pink on the sleeves and “love” over the image of a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon shaped like a runner on the front. On the back of the shirts, it said “Remembering Lynn, 1951-2007.”

“Even while she was in the battle that she eventually lost, she never lost faith and she was able to inspire hope in others, no matter what difficult times she was going through,” said Andrew-Paul Deeb, one of Lynn’s sons.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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