JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thousands of people from all over the county were in Jacksonville Sunday to join the 12th annual Donna Marathon in Neptune beach.
Many people ran, walked, and even cycled to show their support for the fight against the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. One survivor, Michelle Bean, said she ran because she and her twin sister were both diagnosed with breast cancer almost three years ago.
“She was diagnosed in February 2016 and I was diagnosed in April 2016. I had no symptoms at all, she felt the lump and by us being twins my mom was like, 'Michelle go get your mammogram.' I did and that’s how I found mine, because I had no symptoms at all,” Bean said.
Others, like Alli Gregg, were running for loved ones who’ve been diagnosed and using them as motivation.
“So thinking of them when it got tough in the middle of the race and thinking of all the strong survivors,” Gregg said.
Gregg was the first woman to cross the finish line for the half marathon. Shortly after Gregg finished the race, 61-year-old Joan Samuelson was close behind.
“Talk about strength, courage, and perseverance, it’s all right here showcased by every person involved,” Samuelson said.
GALLERY: PHOTOS: Donna Marathon weekend
Although the race was challenging, many said the cause to end the fight against breast cancer was worth the pain. Survivors like Bean agreed and encouraged those currently in the fight to never give up hope.
“It has come a long way. Don’t be afraid of the care team that you may have because there’s definitely the care and providers that can treat this now,” Bean said.
Organizers said this event raised $5 million to help those fighting breast cancer and for cancer research.
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