Jerusalem joined a line up of cities across the world that lit up its landmarks in pink and hosted a Race for the Cure on Thursday, the first time the cause for a breast cancer cure came to Israel.
|Participants in the Race for the Cure|
Some 5,000 Israelis – Jews, Christians and Muslims – and a host of foreigners, mostly women adorned in pink and white, joined the 5 km. route from Sacher Park to the Old City. The Old City walls were lit up in pink just like the White House and the Empire State Building for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin, herself a breast cancer survivor and the cable network’s former Israel correspondent, took part in the race. Millions of women and men participated in walks around the world ranging from 5 to 10 km. organized by the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization.
“Nothing like this has ever been done in Israel,” event coordinator Rena Riger said.
The walk was the culmination of a week of events in Israel aimed at raising awareness about the disease. Among the participants in the march were Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
“We are joined together by the shared fear of breast cancer, and together our action gives us the hope for a cure for this disease,” Lieberman, co-chairman of the Israel Breast Cancer Collaborative, said at the start of the walk. “Together, today, we race and together, tomorrow, we’ll find a cure for breast cancer.”
One survivor who ran the 5 km. was Mary Kendall of Jerusalem, who has been cancer free since 1994. Kendall took part in the race for the cure in Pasadena in 2009 and was happy to be able to participate in her own city.
“We all need each other. It is a nice camaraderie,” she said. “This cause represents the community of the world – there is not one religion or race that cancer attacks.”
Mary also believes Israeli scientists will be the one to find a cure for cancer. “Israel is always a leader in technology and God has given them power and wisdom,” she said
Her husband Roy, himself a melanoma survivor, said it was important for him to participate in the race with his wife in order to support the cause and raise awareness and money for research.
Earlier in the week, the Old City walls were lit up in pink to mark the launch of the national campaign.
Breast cancer is the biggest killer of women under the age of 60 in Israel and accounts for nearly 30 percent of all cancer cases in Israel about 4,000 people, organizers said. The Susan G. Komen organization began with a promise between sisters, Nancy Goodman Brinker and Susan Goodman Komen when Susan was fighting her battle with breast cancer. Nancy promised her sister that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In the 30 years since, the organization has invested nearly $1.5 billion US globally in research, education, screening, treatment and awareness programs. The Municipality of Jerusalem and the Hadassah World Zionist Organization partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in the week’s events.