Eugene woman races for the cure, one step at a time

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is Sunday at Valley River Center in Eugene.

Posted: Mar. 1, 2018 7:47 PM
Updated: Mar. 1, 2018 7:53 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – A breast cancer survivor wants people to know that every dollar counts when it comes to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, happening Sunday in Eugene.

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Judy Clark was diagnosed with breast cancer just months after she moved to Eugene.

“It’s terrifying,” Clark said. “My first instinct of course was, ‘I'm scared.’ Our approach was one foot in front of the next in terms of how to make me well again.”

Clark used that approach to get through her treatment.

“I had four chemo sessions, three hours each, for every three weeks and then I had a break,” she said.

After that, it was one foot in front of the other to help others. She has been involved in Eugene’s Race for the Cure since year one, with her team “Flat as a Pancake.”

“Our team has team shirts and pancake flippers,” Clark laughed.

But she said there’s nothing flat about donations. They’re one of Komen’s top fundraising items.

“We have just really done well over the years,” Clark said. “We stick together and we support each other. There are members on the team who are survivors and true believers of Susan G. Komen.”

Like a good pancake batter, Clark likes to mix it up when it comes to fundraising. She starts with an email campaign, and then adds a garage sale.

“You never know what you're going to end up with,” she said. “It can be really fun stuff.”

She said she knows that every dollar her team brings in will bring Komen one step closer to finding a cure for breast cancer.

“My tag line is that no amount of giving is too small because we never know which dollar is going to push us over the edge to the cure,” she said.

Right now, Clark is on a mission to make sure women get their annual mammogram.

With no family history, that’s what detected her stage two invasive breast cancer.

“It was very deeply imbedded,” she said. “Without the mammogram, I don't know what would have happened.”

The changes in mammogram guidelines in the last few years have left some women confused about when to get one. Cindy Fletcher with Komen says age 40 is a good place to start.

“If you say you need your mammogram every two years, then they'll get it every three or four,” Fletcher said. “If you say get your mammogram annually they may get it every other year. If you say get your mammogram starting when they're 45, they probably won't get it until they're 48 or 50.”

Clark said she’s proof the simple screening can save lives. While she’s now cancer free, she knows how important it is to help others facing a battle she knows all too well.

“I'm really pleased to be able to be a part of this, because if feel so strongly about it,” Clark said.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is Sunday, March 4, at Valley River Center in Eugene. To sign up, click here.

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