‘Race for the Cure’ braves J'lem traffic in historic march

Sen. Joe Lieberman tells 5,000 participants: "Breast cancer is the fear and together we’ll find a cure."

Susan G.Komen Israel Race for the Cure 311 (photo credit: David Katz)
Susan G.Komen Israel Race for the Cure 311
(photo credit: David Katz)
More than 5,000 people braved bustling Jerusalem traffic on Thursday to participate in the first Susan G. Komen Israel Race for the Cure and raise money to fight breast cancer.
The 3.5-kilometer route through the center of the capital – from Sacher Park to the walls of the Old City – was not officially closed to cars, but the event was deemed a success as millions of dollars was pledged for cancer research in Israel and abroad.
The Race for the Cure, which takes place in the US and 11 other countries, brought together people from around Israel and from all sectors of the population, as well as several hundred participants from abroad.
Around 200 men and women wore pink Susan G. Komen Tshirts that identified them as survivors of breast cancer, and others held signs with names of loved ones lost to the disease.
“I’m excited to see so many people have come here, from Eilat up to the Carmel,” Tel Avian fashion designer and honorary race chairwoman Dorin Frankfurt told The Jerusalem Post. “There are people from all backgrounds and all communities, it’s exactly the way Israel should be.”
On Thursday, Frankfurt had her 20 stores across the country filled with pink lights, Komen’s signature color.
US Sen. Joseph Lieberman, co-chairman of the Israel Breast Cancer Collaborative, addressed the crowd at the start of the walk.
“With the seeds of fear comes hope – breast cancer is the fear and we all hope to find a cure,” he said. “Together we race and together we’ll find a cure for breast cancer.”
Lieberman was joined on stage under an arch of pink and white balloons by his wife, Hadassah; Nancy G. Brinker, who in 1982 founded Susan G.
Komen for the Cure after making a promise to her dying sister; the Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America National President Nancy Falchuk, whose organization played a key role in sponsoring the event; and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.
“I feel very moved to see so many people here from all over the world,” Audrey Shimron, executive director of Hadassah’s Israel office, told the Post. “We hope that this event will raise awareness to breast cancer.”
More than 4,000 women die from breast cancer in Israel each year and government- subsidized detection of the disease begins only after the age of 45.
“This is a very important issue for all women and that is why it was so important for us to come here,” said Yunis Saham from Arara south of Umm el-Fahm, who had braved the unseasonably high temperatures to take part in the march.
Donning a pink shirt with a sign announcing, “I’ve beaten breast cancer twice,” Oregon resident Sandi Buhrmaster- Jelinski said she had come to Israel just to participate in the race.
“I have a goal to participate in the Race for the Cure all over the world,” she said, adding that she’d walked in events in 11 US states, Italy, Germany and Egypt.
“I participate in the hope that it will raise breast cancer awareness,” Buhrmaster-Jelinski said. “My first breast cancer was in 1996 and my second one was five years ago; [b]oth were detected early on with the help of a mammogram.
Early detection helps women live longer.”
She was moved by the large turnout: “It’s good to see all the women out here participating, women of different diversity and ages, with a lot of men supporting the women. It’s great.”
“We are part of history,” said an enthusiastic Jared Stein, a participant in the Young Judaea Year Course program who joined the walk along with more than 100 of his peers. “This is the first time this race has ever taken place in Israel and we will be able to say that we were here.”
“There are so many people here and we are honored that we can be part of this in Israel,” said Jordana Eisenberg, another Year Course participant who regularly walks in Komen events in her hometown of Baltimore.
Another Young Judaea student, Ben Berger from Los Angeles, said: “We just hope that it will help to find a cure for breast cancer.”
The others “walking for cure” included representatives of the event’s various partners, including the Israel Cancer Association, WIZO (the Women’s International Zionist Organization) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
Jonathan Blum, vice president and general counsel for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, said the main goal of this year’s race was to raise awareness of breast cancer and establish the organization as a permanent fixture in Israel.
Seventy-five percent of monies raised by Thursday’s event would stay in Israel for cancer research programs and organizations here.
A spokeswoman for the event said it was still too early to know how much had been raised.