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Running For More…

The personal blog and website of Kristen Cincotta

Posts Tagged ‘Young Survival Coalition’

You’re Invited to The Young Survival Coalition’s Tour de Pink!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month right around the corner, the number of “pink” events taking place here in Atlanta and all over the country is growing by the day! One series of events that kicks off this weekend is the Young Survival Coalition’s Tour de Pink bike rides to raise money for their outreach, education, and advocacy programs. I’m planning to attend the ride here in Atlanta this weekend as a spectator and I’m hoping that I can convince you to as well!

About the Young Survival Coalition

The Young Survival Coalition (or YSC) is, per their website, the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC was founded in 1998 by three women who had all been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 35. Recognizing the relative rarity of their situation and the unique issues facing young women with breast cancer, YSC was born. YSC is head-quartered in New York City and currently has affililiates in 30 cities across the United States.

The primary goal of YSC is to improve and increase both the quality and quantity of life for young breast cancer patients and survivors. To achieve this, YSC focuses its efforts on three fronts:

  1. Advocacy – YSC advocates for increased research attention focused on the unique issues facing young women with breast cancer, including higher mortality rates, body image issues, and survivorship questions about things such as fertility and early menopause. Through their “Reach Up and Speak Out” programs, YSC is working to empower and unite the voices in the young survivor community to shine a spotlight on a much needed area of increased research.
  2. Education – Breast cancer in young people is not the same as breast cancer in post-menopausal women. YSC provides educational information and leads seminars to help highlight these differences and educate young women with breast cancer so that they can make informed choices about their own care and treatment. Moreover, YSC dedicates considerable efforts to increasing awareness of breast cancer in younger women, emphasizing that this is not a disease that limits itself to older women.
  3. Community building and patient support – The community of young breast cancer survivors is relatively small, leading these women to often feel out of place or overlooked at traditional cancer patient support groups. YSC and its affiliates regularly host networking and social events as well as an annual conference specifically targeted at young cancer patients and survivors in order to help young women find and support each other through their cancer journeys and beyond.

About the Tour de Pink

The Tour de Pink is a series of bike rides at various locations across the country that serves a dual purpose as the YSC’s primary annual fundraiser and as a wonderful celebration of the YSC community. Or, as YSC Board President, founding member and three-time breast cancer survivor Lisa J. Frank puts it (much more artfully):

Tour de Pink was created to empower young women diagnosed with breast cancer. Our participants create an incredibly strong community that one wishes they could experience every day. Combine that with the inspiration everyone feels when they watch a young woman climb on a bike to reclaim her body after being diagnosed with breast cancer and you truly have the experience of a lifetime.

The Tour de Pink was first started in 2004 with just five riders, who rode 200 miles from the Boston suburbs to the NYU Cancer Institute in New York City. That inaugural event raised $26,000 for YSC; with more than 1400 riders expected to take part in at least one Tour de Pink ride in 2012, that number only promises to grow.

For the 2012 season, interested participants have the choice of a number of events depending on geographic location and riding ability. The two primary events in the Tour de Pink series are each three day, 200 mile long rides that are similar in nature to the Susan G. Komen 3 Day and Avon Breast Cancer Walks. Riders will ride a set distance each day and will “camp” together overnight in hotels. Riders who register for the entire weekend are challenged to raise a minimum of $2500 in order to participate (again, similar to the 3 Day or Avon). There is also a one day option for riders who prefer a shorter challenge. One day riders are asked to raise $250. The dates and locations for these Tour de Pink rides are:

Each of these events is limited to just 200 riders and I’m not sure if registration is still open for either of them. However, if you live along the route (you can double check the east coast route here and the west coast route here), please take some time to head out and cheer on these riders. Not only are they taking on a tremendous physical challenge, but they’ve also been working for months to raise lots and lots of money for a good cause. Give them a supportive car honk, pass out water bottles, whatever seems right for you. As a fellow endurance event participant, I can testify that community support goes such a long way!

In addition to these two multi-day events, there are two other single day Tour de Pink events that folks can take part in:

  • The Indoor Tour de Pink (Columbus, OH): If you live in or are willing to travel to Columbus, Ohio, you have the option of taking part in an indoor, two hour stationary bike team relay event on October 27th (so basically like a giant spin class where teammates take turns on the bikes). Participants in this event are asked to raise $125 for each half-hour that they plan to ride. If you are interested in taking part, you can register here. There was a similar event held in Seattle on September 23rd, which you can read about here.
  • The One Day Tour de Pink Atlanta: If you live in or are willing to travel to Atlanta (my neck of the woods!), you have the option of taking part in a single day, outside Tour de Pink bike ride (or simultaneous 5K family run/walk). For more details on this event, jump down to the next section.

Finally, if you can’t make it to any of these events and aren’t satisfied by just donating to YSC and really have to get on your bike, you can always register as a Virtual Rider for any of the above Tour de Pink events. More information on that can be found here.

About the Atlanta Tour de Pink Event

This coming weekend, over 600 riders, walkers, and runners will be taking over the northern suburbs of Atlanta and turning it pink in Atlanta’s only bike ride for breast cancer, the Tour de Pink. The festivities for this one day event kick off at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in northern Atlanta at 7:30am, with riders then heading out into the streets along four courses of various distances. Riders will take on either a 20 mile, 40 mile, 65 mile, or 100 mile course before returning to the Verizon Amphitheater for Closing Ceremonies. If running or walking is more your style, once the riders have begun their journeys, a smaller 5K run/walk will commence from the Amphitheater grounds as well. Throughout the day, there will be entertainment, food, and family friendly activities for supporters and participants to enjoy. The last riders are expected to finish around 5pm. You can find details on all of the days activities here.

If you live in the Atlanta area, I highly encourage you to come out and support YSC and these awesome riders as they tackle the Tour de Pink. As with the other Tour de Pink events, these riders (and runners and walkers…) have each raised $125 just to participate in this ride. They are working hard to support a cause they believe in. Even if you can only spare an hour, please stop along the route or at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater and cheer on these riders!

If I’ve managed to convince you to check out the Tour de Pink Atlanta this weekend, you can find directions to the race site here and a detailed schedule of events here. You can also download the courses here. For similar details for the East Coast, West Coast and Indoor events, please click on the links above.

Thanks for reading about this great cause and I’ll see you out there as I cheer on the Tour de Pink Atlanta riders!

Video of the 2011 Tour de Pink Atlanta, courtesy of the Young Survival Coalition

PS – Much like with the 3 Day or the AVON walks, registration for all of the Tour de Pink events begins months prior to the event dates. Keep your eyes open for a follow up blog post about how to register to take part in one these rides in 2013 sometime in mid-spring!

 

Piedmont Park goes PINK!

Monday, July 30th, 2012

As I mentioned back in this post, on July 21st, Piedmont Park (the Atlanta equivalent of Central Park for you non-ATLians) played host to not one but TWO separate events promoting breast cancer awareness and women’s health. Even though I opted not to take part in either event (for a number of reasons), I was able to spend some time at both events, getting a nice dose of pink spirit in the middle of the long, hot summer.

The Pink Ribbon Walk

While I spent time with both groups, I focused most of my time on the Pink Ribbon Walk. While this was actually the 9th time that this event was held, I only became vaguely aware of it last summer when I was driving to meet friends for a 3 Day training walk and passed by all the walkers. While I had every intention of looking up more about the Pink Ribbon Walk and the Sisters… By Choice Inc group, in all honesty, I completely forgot about it until a few days before this event when I saw a passing mention of it on Twitter. And man, am I glad I saw that tweet because this event was FANTASTIC!

When I first walked up to the group, I was blown away by the turn out. I consider myself pretty plugged into the breast cancer awareness community here in Atlanta so I assumed that if I hadn’t heard about this until a few days before, well, I wasn’t expecting much. I am happy to say that I was very wrong. Even the Atlanta Falcon cheerleaders and the mayor of Atlanta himself, Kasim Reed, turned out for this event. The energy level before the runners/walkers took of for their 5K was palpable. There were a number of community and business groups taking part that gave the whole thing such spirit. I’m really hopeful that I can convince Hubs’ office to sponsor a team for this next year as part of their community support work.

One of the best parts about this event was the “expo” area. While most of these types of events feature tables from their sponsors and information about the sponsoring organization (in this case, a local group called Sisters By Choice… Inc), this expo was unique in that it featured tables from a number of other cancer organizations as well. As a cancer advocate, I think this is really great because groups like Living Beyond Breast Cancer, the Young Survivor’s Coalition, the Georgia Breast Cancer Alliance, the American Cancer Society, and Komen Atlanta all focus on such different aspects of the larger fight against breast cancer. I get very discouraged when these organizers are positioned as competitors to each other rather than as co-advocates, so to ┬ásee them all proudly represented at one event was fantastic.


Pictures from the Pink Ribbon Walk Expo

I cannot speak highly enough of the organization and energy around the Pink Ribbon Walk and I’m really looking forward to running in the 10th annual event next summer!

SheMoves Atlanta 5K

When I first got to Piedmont Park on Saturday morning, I almost immediately came upon the women of the SheMoves Atlanta 5K lining up for the start of their event. The group was a bit smaller than I anticipated but the race organizers were energetic and really got everyone going for the race. Unlike the Pink Ribbon Walk (which focused on runners and walkers), the SheMoves 5K was pretty much solely runners. Also, while the Pink Ribbon Walk went out into the streets around the park, the SheMoves course was entirely within the park boundaries. I suppose that reflects the goal of each event. The Pink Ribbon Walk was designed to get people talking about breast cancer awareness while the purpose of the SheMoves 5K was to provide a fitness event to motivate women to make healthy decisions for their families and themselves. As a result, the SheMoves 5K was a more low key, intimate affair.

The one thing that these two events did have in common, though, was that they both had great post-race expos. The SheMoves 5K expo, which was held at Park Tavern, was really focused on celebrating women’s health, with champagne, flowers, and beautiful race shirts. It reminded me quite a bit of the post-race area for the Atlanta Track Club’s Women’s 5K. All in all, it seemed like a great, supportive environment for a race. The SheMoves Atlanta group hosts a number of these types events over the course of the year so I’m going to be keeping my ears to the ground in the hopes of participating in one of their other runs.

All in all, it was a very pink-filled morning in the park and I loved soaking up every minute of it!

To see all of my pictures from both the Pink Ribbon Walk and the SheMoves Atlanta 5K, please click here.