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Record crowd of 780 participants raise funds, awareness

A sea of pink-clad supporters from across Southern Maryland surged into Solomons on Oct. 13 for Calvert Memorial Hospital’s third annual Breast Cancer 5K Walk/Run. The spirited crowd of 780 swamped last year’s turnout, according to a press release, and raised more than $10,000 to benefit the Sheldon E. Goldberg Center for Breast Care at CMH.

“We are very grateful to all of the participants for their wonderful energy and overwhelming support,” said Linda Walton, the breast center’s navigator, in a press release. “Their support will make sure our patients get the help they need to boost their spirits and make their treatment a little easier.”

The CMH breast center combines the strength of state-of-art imaging technology and advanced clinical knowledge with care that treats each patient as a whole individual, according to the release. Each member of the multidisciplinary team has specialized training in cancer care and is familiar with the latest treatment options. Today, Southern Maryland residents don’t have to leave the area to receive some of the best care available.

Proceeds from the race, said Kasia Sweeney, associate vice president for corporate communication at CMH, will be used to expand support services available to all patients of the breast center as well as to support a special fund for patient financial assistance.

Sweeney recognized sponsors Calvert Medical Imaging Center and World Gym for their commitment to the event. “Their generous contribution is always appreciated and essential to the success of the 5K,” she said. “We are glad to be able to work with partners like these that are dedicated to serving their community.”

She also thanked the numerous volunteers who helped with the event, including Josh Woodburn, Tyler Sullivan, Stacy McCurdy and Maddie Smith of the Huntingtown High School National Honor Society and Nancy Wolf-Fisher, Suzanne Pavelko, Anne O’Leary and Karen Merewitz of Huntingtown Elementary School. Our Lady Star of the Sea School and Winnie and Joseph Niemi of Boy Scout Troop 451 in Lusby staffed the water stations along the route while Jenny Barrett of M&T Bank helped with registration. “I would also like to recognize the countless hospital auxiliary members and CMH staff who volunteered their time to make the event a success,” she said in the release. “And a special shout out goes to Luke Stevens and Ted Mohn for taking turns as LEAPS.”

The family friendly event began with a warm-up by World Gym trainers James Sutton and Erick Walker, who were joined by CMH mascot LEAPS wearing his pink race T-shirt.

The Center for Breast Care at CMH was the dream of Dr. Goldberg, whose sudden death in a rafting accident in 2011 devastated the Calvert County community. He was the driving force behind the breast center, the release states.

Just before the race began, Goldberg’s wife, Dr. Ramona Crowley-Goldberg, talked about the importance of having a first-class breast center available locally. She also thanked the attendees for their support and added that “today’s race is a time for us to remember all the courageous women and men in Calvert County who have bravely faced cancer, and also to remember a wonderful husband, father, friend — Dr. Sheldon Goldberg, dedicated surgeon and humanitarian, who for 26 years in Calvert County, helped so many battle and survive the disease,” according to the release.

The participants came from far and wide, some inspired by the loved ones who have survived, many motivated by those who continue the daily battle and others determined to keep the memory alive of those who are now gone. The sense of unity and common purpose was as pervasive as the color pink — the signature color of breast cancer awareness. They proudly wore pink gloves, sweatshirts, scarves, knit caps, socks, feather boas and tutus, and some even sported pink-streaked hair.

They came with friends, family, neighbors and coworkers, and they all had a story to tell. Christina Walker of Chesapeake Beach was there with her friend, Chelsea Russell. “My grandmother is a survivor ... so I’m doing it for her,” Walker said in the release. Marie Barrett of St. Leonard wore her mother’s picture on a button pinned to her top. “She passed in 2005 … the whole family is coming.”

Lisa Lebo drove 4 Ĺ hours from Paxinos, Pa., to be with her daughter, Marissa McKenna of Lusby, who was running her first 5K. Another first-time participant Carol Esau of Solomons laughingly offered, “I’m a walker, not a runner,” the release states.

Caitlin Jones of Edgewater was there with her mother, Lorrie Falls of Owings, who was quoted in the release as saying, “We have a cousin with breast cancer and we’re very grateful she is doing well.”

Jamie Harrison joined 36 others from Southern Maryland Oral Surgery to complete the 3.1-mile course around the tiny island, the release continues. This was the second year they participated.

Eighteen minutes and three seconds after the race started, the winner crossed the finish line. Noah Wood, 29, of Prince Frederick teaches first grade students with special needs at Arrowhead Elementary School in Upper Marlboro. A close second was Andrew MacWilliams of St. Leonard, who came in 17 seconds later. The top female runner was Hannah Couto of Prince Frederick, a sophomore at The Calverton School who runs cross country, who finished at 22:30, according to the release.

An elated Dawn Brown clocked in at 38:35 with her daughter, Meagan, cheering from the sidelines. A self-confessed couch potato, the 45-year-old Lusby resident started her journey to the finish line six months ago when she decided to train for her first 5K with friends.

“The program was supposed to take nine weeks, but it took us 22 weeks because we had to repeat some of the steps,” she explained in the release. “I’m over the moon. I had a nice cry at the finish line.”