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April 30, 1998

Pitt signs on as sponsor of Race for the Cure; volunteers sought

The sixth annual Race for the Cure will be held Sunday, May 10, in Schenley Park starting at 8:30 a.m.

The race, the largest in western Pennsylvania, attracting some 14,000 runners and walkers last year, benefits breast cancer screening, education, research and treatment.

This year, the University will be a full sponsor, providing space in Forbes Quad for registration and shuttle service to the starting line on Schenley Drive. Registered participants also will be able to park free of charge on campus the day of the event.

In addition to serving as a sponsor, the University is encouraging departments to form teams to run or walk. Teams interested should call Bill Young, Public Affairs, 624-4209.

Volunteers interested in assisting with race activities should call Steve Zupcic, Volunteer Pool coordinator, at 383-1667.

Fredi Miller, assistant dean for admissions and financial aid at the School of Law, will be among the Pitt volunteers at the race. She was involved in the first local race as a runner, and every year since she has been a registration volunteer. This year as registration coordinator she will be in charge of on-site registration the day of the race, and helping to organize other volunteers.

"I've had numerous friends who have been diagnosed with breast cancer," Miller said, describing why she's involved. "Especially one friend, who I kind of 'rode the waves with,' who passed away. And I'm committed to her memory." Camille Burgess, staff member in academic support services at the Katz business school, helped organize a team of school affiliates for the race. "I sent out a general e-mail, and I was surprised at the response. We got a team of 16 together, professors and staff; others responded that they were already involved [in the race]," Burgess said.

"I had heard about the race over the years, but when I saw in the University Times that the University was involved, I thought, this is a good time to join up," she said. "It's a good cause, especially for women. Walking is good for us anyway, and [breast cancer] is something we may face ourselves." The race format includes a 5K run/walk and a one-mile fun walk. During the event, many participants wear the names of family or friends stricken with breast cancer and many survivors wear special caps to demonstrate their victory. Prizes are awarded in many categories. The race is locally organized by the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh section, in coalition with YWCA Breast Health Coalition.

Laurie Moser, executive director of the Pittsburgh Race for the Cure and a 1969 Pitt anthropology graduate, co-founded the local event in 1993 with Eileen Lane and Pat Siger. Moser, who described herself as "a runner of 22 years and a breast cancer survivor" got involved with the project because the race was "a natural fit for me." "I'm involved because of the importance of keeping breast cancer in the public eye, not just on Mother's Day each year, but all year 'round. It's important to promote mammograms and self-examinations, because early detection does work: I'm walking proof of that." Although her position as director is technically part-time, "the events really continue throughout the year," and require full-time hours, she said. Related events include Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October; Shoot for the Cure, a girls' basketball clinic and health expo for mothers and daughters, and Lee National Denim Day, an annual event to raise funds and breast cancer awareness in the workplace. Locally, the first five years of the race has raised $1.85 million, and proceeds are expected to rise to $2.4 million after this year's event, according to Moser. "This year we've already registered 14,600 participants [as of April 27], and we expect [the total] to rise to 18,000," Moser said.

The founding organization is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a national group with a volunteer network working through local chapters and Race for the Cure events in 86 U.S. cities.

More than $90 million has been raised since the foundation's inception in 1982. Race proceeds fund the Mammogram Voucher Program (MVP), providing mammograms and follow-up diagnostic services to medically underserved women in 22 western Pennsylvania counties. MVP is administered by the American Cancer Society, Southwest Region, Commonwealth Division and Family Health Council, Inc. and affiliates. The race also supports free educational forums and events throughout the region, manages the Breast Cancer Information Service, and has a website [] dedicated to breast cancer information, funded by a grant from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

For more race information, call 521-2873, or access the Race for the Cure website at:

–Peter Hart

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