Komen Volunteer Works in Honor of Sister

In November 2001, Cathy Genin’s sister, Bertha, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. Genin began walking for a cure in the annual Susan G. Komen Madison Race for the Cure.

Genin’s family walked together for two years, before Bertha lost the battle with breast cancer in 2004.

Genin has been a volunteer at Susan G. Komen Madison for the past seven years and is on the Komen Race for the Cure registration committee. She says the race, Komen’s largest fundraiser, is successful because of the prevalence of breast cancer.

“We all know women who have been touched by breast cancer,” Genin says. “I haven’t met a person in my life who hasn’t been touched by it one way or another.”

On race day, Genin says she enjoys seeing participants united under a common goal—to raise funds and awareness.

“There’s a lot of high emotions, a lot of family camaraderie and support for all the survivors,” she says.

Seventy-five percent of Komen Race for the Cure proceeds stay in Dane County. The remaining 25 percent is sent to the national Komen headquarters, but additional funds come back to Dane County to be given to trustees and UW–Madison for cancer research. In the past five years, more than $3.4 million has come back to UW–Madison, says Laura K. Richards, Susan G. Komen Madison development director.

Volunteers are an essential piece of the race, Genin says. She is delighted that elderly, committed volunteers and young, energetic volunteers alike support Komen. “It’s a good balance of a lot of different people there for different reasons,” she says.

Many of Komen’s volunteers get involved via word of mouth. “It’s like a chain, it just keeps growing,” Genin says. “People find out that you are volunteering and they ask, ‘How can I volunteer?’”

This year, Genin looks forward to participating with her family, some of whom are visiting from out of state.

“They’re going to come home, and hopefully they walk with us again … like we did seven years ago.”

For more information about Susan G. Komen Madison, please visit komenmadison.org

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