Vermillion will be on front lines of breast cancer fight By: David Lias
Plain Talk USDâ�?�?s DakotaDome is well known as the home to a range of sports, from high school track and football championships, to USD Division I football competitions. Soon, however, the DakotaDome will serve as headquarters to a new, equally exciting and perhaps one of the most important events in its three decades of existence. Rather than a collegiate or a high school athletic contest, the DakotaDome will serve as host to a humanitarian gesture on Sept. 28. For the first time the state of South Dakota will host the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Between 1,500 and 2,000 men and women are expected to participate in racing activities in the community that day. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s being held right here in Vermillion,â�? said Colette Abbott, race chair, â�?�?on the west side of the DakotaDome. The course goes through the community, and it will be a 5K run/walk, and thereâ�?�?s also a one-mile run or walk held through the community.â�? The race, Abbott said, fulfills a pledge made between two sisters approximately a quarter century ago. â�?�?Nancy Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever,â�? Abbott said. The end result, however, is much more than charitable races held across the nation each year to raise funds. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s the largest grass roots organization for breast cancer awareness and education in the world,â�? Abbott said. â�?�?Today, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure involves the largest group of activists and survivors fighting to save lives and empower people.â�? The charitable organizationâ�?�?s mission also includes insuring quality care for all, and energizing science to find the cures, she said. Presently, there are 117 Susan G. Komen race events held not just in the United States, but around the world. â�?�?Thanks to events like the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, funds have been raised with the goal of eliminating breast cancer, and nationally, nearly $1 billion has been invested to find a cure,â�? Abbott said. â�?�?The funds are dedicated to breast cancer research and grant programs.â�? Established in April, 2005, the South Dakota group is one of the 115 affiliates dedicated to eradicating breast cancer as a life threatening disease. â�?�?After two years of having an affiliate in good standing, you can apply to host the race,â�? Abbott said. â�?�?The race was then applied for and granted, and we went forward.â�? Abbott was named race chair, and Celia Miner serves as race co-chair. Jim Miner, Yankton, former football, track and cross country coach at Yankton High School, is the director of the Race for the Cure; and Sanford Health is the local presenting sponsor. One of the duties of the race director is to determine what community will host the race. â�?�?Vermillion, with the DakotaDome, was the best choice in the state,â�? she said. Abbott has become well-known in southeastern South Dakota as an excellent long-distance runner who competes in several marathons annually. â�?�?As chair, Iâ�?�?m not sure if Iâ�?�?m going to be able run this race, but Iâ�?�?m already signed up, certainly,â�? she said. â�?�?Iâ�?�?m very excited, because there are so many aspects of this race that are beyond the running and the walking.â�? There will be a survivor recognition held Sunday at 8:30 a.m. The race, which begins at 9:30 a.m., will end inside the DakotaDome an awards and tribute ceremony. â�?�?We really would love to have this be the start of South Dakotaâ�?�?s largest support group,â�? she said. â�?�?So this is about survivors, and itâ�?�?s about education. â�?�?Youâ�?�?ll see cure leaders throughout the course and in the Dome,â�? she said, â�?�?and we want to educate everyone, young and old, male and female, about breast cancer and how they can take care of their own health and be responsible for themselves.â�? Abbott is particularly pleased that 75 percent of the money raised will stay in South Dakota with the Cure Grants Program. The South Dakota inaugural race on Sept. 28 will feature five of the stateâ�?�?s native daughters â�?�? all with outstanding track and cross country histories in several of the stateâ�?�?s high schools. Leading the group is Watertownâ�?�?s Kay (Stormo) Freund, a recent inductee to the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame, who now lives with her family in Austin, TX. As one of the stateâ�?�?s early girl athletes she set an all-time state record at 800 meters, then became a University of Iowa star, a four-year Big Ten champion in several events. Two Sioux Falls girls, Julie (Pederson) Lindner, who attended Sioux Falls Oâ�?�?Gorman High School and Kristi Rieger, a Washington High star, will both be in Vermillion. Both were mile runners and cross-country stars in college, with Julie helping the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse team to become NCAA national champs. Kristi attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls and was a North Central Conference and a NCAA Division II track champion. The fourth star is Mitchellâ�?�?s all-timer, Jill Theeler who earned state track records in the 100 meter, 200 meter and 400 meter dashes. She is now on The University of South Dakota staff. The fifth star, Jennie Buller, was a fore-runner of the many distance-runners at Yankton High School. She was a three-time state 1600 meter champion. These five outstanding South Dakota champions will set a fast pace in the 5K race. The South Dakota race will be routed through the streets of Vermillion before finishing inside the DakotaDome with an awards and tribute ceremony. More information is available by contacting Susan G. Komen for the Cure by visiting www.komensouthdakota.org.