It has been five and a half years since Nancy McDermott beat
breast cancer. But the emotion of learning that terrible news stays
with her to this day.
McDermott remembered thinking, “I am going to die. I’ve got
Giant pink ribbons adorned the Pepsi Center and Invesco Field at
Mile High buildings in downtown Denver Sunday, as women, men and
children walked and ran with one goal in common: to help find a
cure for breast cancer.
Signs worn by those participating in the race read “In Memory
Of,” and “In Celebration Of,” with names filled in below the
heading, revealing the massive number of people who have in some
way been affected by breast cancer.
Some breast cancer survivors, including McDermott, who
participated in the race shared their emotional experience with The
“With the support of my friends and my family, (that) made me
feel like I’ve got too much to live for, I fought,” McDermott
When McDermott learned she was in remission she cried and
thought, “I did it.”
McDermott said that without a mammogram, she never would have
known she had cancer. There were not any lumps, so only a mammogram
could detect it.
“I thought I was going to die,” said Jody Will, a breast cancer
survivor who has been in remission since June 2000. “There’s such a
shock attached to being diagnosed with cancer,” she said.
Will was one of the unofficial count of 60,247 people who joined
together to participate in the race.
“Of course I was glad it was over, I was just hopeful it would
never come back. I was elated,” Will said, speaking of her feelings
after her cancer went into remission. Will was diagnosed November
Will had advice to pass on to college-aged women.
“I’m a clinical nurse psychologist and I work with younger
women,” Will said. “I always recommend (self) breast exams,
especially for kids whose relatives have had cancer.”
Participating in the Race for the Cure gave her hope, Will
“I’m encouraged today, which is why I do the race. We’re getting
more and more positive feedback, I think it’s because of (the
race),” she said.
Will has learned from her experience battling cancer. The
importance of living life to its fullest is the most important
lesson she learned, she said.
“You just have to live your life as best as you can,” she
When Michelle Claik was diagnosed with breast cancer, she felt
emotions similar to McDermott’s.
“I think my heart went to my stomach. I thought immediately I
wasn’t going to see my grandkids grow up, I thought I was going to
die,” said Claik, who has been in remission for 10 years. “Every
time you have something wrong with you, you worry.”
The Denver Metropolitan Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen
Foundation, which puts on the race, has contributed more than $13
million since its inception 11 years ago to Denver-area non-profit
organizations that focus on breast cancer education.