Walking Thru a Pandemic to Find a Cure

Walking Thru a Pandemic to Find a Cure

Almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, large in-person gatherings are still on hold in an effort to control the spread of the virus. But large events, like walks and runs, raise much needed funds for non-profits like Susan G. Komen. That’s why its 25th Anniversary Race for the Cure is now a virtual “Race Where You Are” event.

Participants can download an app and walk in their favorite park or run in their neighborhood. Or, they can join a group of local women who will be using the walking track around Woman’s Hospital’s campus in support of one of their own.

The Together as One group has been participating in the Baton Rouge Race for the Cure for 20 years as a way to honor one of its member’s mothers who had fought the disease, but this year’s race at Woman’s holds even more meaning for the group.

Woman’s Hospital is where Courtney Mills, one of the close-knit group’s own, was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2019. 

After a routine annual mammogram, doctors recommended Mills see Dr. Cecilia Cuntz at Woman’s Hospital for a biopsy. “At 47, I was suddenly trying to grasp the fact that I have breast cancer,” Mills explained.

As the 2020 race approached, just months after her diagnosis, Mills was worried she wasn’t going to be able to walk due to her mastectomy recovery. But with her doctors’ permission, the support of Together as One, and clothing that prevented her from swinging her arms, Mills walked.

“For so many years I did this walk,” Mills explained. “But this was the first time I did this walk for me.”

Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, participating in the race came with yet another obstacle for the ladies this year. But ironically, the modified event is bringing Mills’ story full circle in a way she could have never anticipated. 

Mills largely credits two groups of people for their support in her cancer journey– her team of doctors at Woman’s Hospital and her friends/family. Both of which will be present, in one way or another, at this year’s race.

“To have this walk on this campus where I had such amazing doctors with the people who have supported me means so much,” Mills emotionally stated. “I have come to Woman’s so much since 2019 but this is different. This feels good.”

Join Susan G. Komen’s Race Where You Are

The virtual race is scheduled for Saturday, February 27, and the group plans to meet at Woman’s at 9 a.m. Anyone who is interested in walking with the group is welcome to join. Masks and social distancing will be required. To register for the virtual event visit KomenLouisiana.org

While Mills believes raising awareness for breast cancer and supporting Susan G. Komen’s mission is important, she also wants to remind women 40 and up to get their annual mammogram. “Had I taken the seven years my mammogram came back fine for granted, who knows where I would be now,” she said. 

The Breast and GYN Cancer Pavilion, a partnership between Woman’s Hospital and Mary Bird Perkins- Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, is proud to support Susan G. Komen Baton Rouge and their efforts in the fight against cancer and finding a cure as a race sponsor this year.