JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Pounding the pavement for miles, dedicated to one cause, thousands of runners and walkers hit the streets on Sunday in the 7th annual 26.2 with Donna race.
That cause: fighting to find a cure for breast cancer.
"Three, two, one, GO."
Breast cancer survivors tell Action News the marathon was a challenge but every mile was worth it.
"It makes me want to cry, me being a survivor, being out here support this cause, it’s so powerful," said Pam Nelson, a breast cancer survivor.
Nelson says her journey to becoming a survivor wasn’t easy.
She was diagnosed in 2007, but she didn’t let the cancer stop her.
"Have a pity party for a little bit, and get back up and get back on the horse going again," she said.
Race founder Donna Deegan says that kind of attitude is exactly what she is trying to encourage.
"I tell women get up every day and say, 'Thank God I'm here' and see what you can do that's positive that day," said Deegan.
Cancer survivor, Wendy Coutu says she also had to battle cancer in 2010.
She came all the way from Boston just to race with other survivors.
"It’s just very emotional, it brings back a lot of memories, and I'm just so grateful to be here today and be able to do it," said Coutu.
Supporters stood on the side of the marathon’s path cheering on the runners to keep going.
It’s this kind of support Coutu says kept her and other participants going from start to finish.
"The last 5 miles were really hard for me but I knew I could do it, I been through it all, I knew I could do it."
According to The Donna Foundation, a total of 10,000 people registered for the race, 2,000 for the 5k on Saturday and 8,000 for the marathon on Sunday.
This year, the runners raised $350,000 just in fundraising. The official number won’t be known until the end of March, but The Donna Foundation is expecting to raise a total near $800,000.