By Ida Brown / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
When Cindy Kane Schrock started the annual Queen City Race For Life- Street Strut three years ago, it was personal.
Schrock's sister, Judie Bounds Rutledge, was undergoing a second bout with cancer and witnessing her then 52-year-old sister's courage prompted Schrock to take up her own battle with the disease.
Sadly, Rutledge succumbed to cancer in November.
"It was right after the event last year," Schrock said.
And though her sister lost her battle, Schrock continues to wage a personal battle with the disease.
"I've met so many wonderful people and have been touched by each of their journeys through this event," she said. "Just as I was inspired by my sister's courage, I am so inspired by each breast cancer survivor I've had the privilege to meet. It has been so heart touching."
This year's Queen City Race For Life-Street Strut is set for Saturday – rain or shine. Registration will begin at 6:30 a.m. and a 15-minute warm-up exercise will be led by Terrence Davis and Divas on the Run beginning at 7:30 a.m. At 7:45 a.m.. there will be a reading of a proclamation from the city, a presentation of "The National Anthem" and prayer.
New to the event is the presentation of the Judie Bounds Rutledge Memorial Scholarship, which was established by Schrock in memory of her sister. The endowment scholarship is designated for students attending Meridian Community College and the first $500 award will be presented to William Grant Hill.
The competitions will get under way at 8 a.m. As in previous years, the fundraiser will feature a 5K run/walk, a 1-mile fun run for kids (all kids receive an award), a 1-mile walk and the popular 150-yard High Heel Dash. The 5K run/walk will feature chip timing for competitive runners. The 1-mile fun run is designated for kids, while the 1-mile walk is for those who are less active but want to participate.
Although anyone can participate in the High Heel Dash, the event is especially geared to men. The dash, which also features local personalities, was conceived from two of Schrock's loves: running and high heels.
Another highlight of the day will be the Street Strut, which is hosted by the Phi Theta Kappa Chapter at Meridian Community College. Participants decorate umbrellas and then strut around Dumont Plaza.
"It's so much fun; a lot of the participants really go all out in decorating their umbrellas," Schrock said. "DJ Lee Taylor plays music and they dance and strut around the little gazebo. We call each person's name and tell whether they are a breast cancer survivor and for how long. Or, it they are doing it in memory of someone we state their name and the person they are remembering."
The umbrellas are judged and prizes awarded in several categories.
Making an official appearance will be the 2013 Queen City Race For Life-Street Strut Breast Cancer Survivors – Betty Phillips, LaDonna Bradshaw, Herman Stegall, Shelia Scott.
Other highlights of the day will include a health fair, food vendors, children's activities and face painting as well as other entertainment for all ages.
For the first Race For Life-Street Strut, Schrock set a goal of $10,000, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society. Last year's event attracted more than 450 participants and raised more than $13,000.
This year, Schrock has set her sights even higher.
"Our goal is to raise $25,000," she said.
In addition to the American Cancer Society, proceeds will go to the Cancer Patient Benevolent Fund, which helps with the expenses of patients who receive treatment from Anderson Regional Medical Center or Anderson Regional Cancer Center.
While raising research funds for the American Cancer Society as well as local cancer-related organizations is the goal of the Queen City Race For Life-Street Strut, Schrock said she hopes the event will also raise awareness about breast cancer.
"Our motto is 'We're making strides against breast cancer,' and I believe that we're doing it with this event," she said. "The community has been so supportive of this, and I do believe we're doing something worthwhile."