One of the most unique and vital assets that Connecticut women have in the fight against breast cancer is the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative, Inc. This statewide non-profit has significantly impacted the search for a breast cancer cure since 2004.
Each year the organization strives to surpass its financial milestones with the help of supporters, sponsors, and fundraising efforts.
One of its signature fundraising events, the Race in the Park, is celebrating its 20th anniversary on May 13th in New Britain's Walnut Hill Park. It takes place on the Saturday before Mother’s Day and includes a 5K race and walk, as well as 4K and 1 mile walks, and a Kids’ Challenge. The family day also features live music, food trucks, a beer garden and silent auction. Admission is $36 for adults, $20 for youths.
Last year organizers raised more than $500,000 for breast cancer research and thousands take part in the race day events.
“It’s a family tradition and a celebration of life,” says Joyce Bray, president of the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative, a founding member of the group and member of its board of directors.
The nonprofit raises funds for grants that support breast cancer education and research and has awarded $4.3 million in more than 100 grants in Connecticut. Some of the recipients have included Saint Francis Comprehensive Women’s Health Center Breast Health Outreach Program; Lymphedema Clinical Program at Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network/The Hospital of Central CT Rehabilitation for Breast Health; and Novel Therapeutic Targeting of Metastatic Breast Cancer.
One of the most compelling projects is a women-based group with the Biomedical Engineering Department at UConn Health Center to create personalized 3D-printed breast forms for women who opt not to undergo reconstruction surgeries.
Joyce says all donations are raised in Connecticut, "and 100 percent stays in Connecticut. Every person who participates, every dollar donated, brings us closer to the next breakthrough and ultimately a cure. There is groundbreaking research underway right here in Connecticut that we are proud to support, thanks to our dedicated donors, participants, and volunteers.”
“The entire community really comes together to support this wonderful day,” Joyce adds. “Volunteers are the backbone of the event. Because of everyone’s extraordinary efforts, we can fund forward-thinking programs, and we’re doing it where it matters most – right here at home. Our vision is a world without breast cancer, and we know that research is the answer to cancer.”
For more information on the initiative visit Ctbhi.org.
For additional information on Race in the Park visit Ctbhi.org/the-race.