Oct 122003
Authors: Natalie Plowman

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.





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