Komen Race for the Cure raises millions for cancer research

This weekend's rain held off Sunday morning for the more than 3,000 people who participated in the 16th Annual Susan Komen Vermont-New Hampshire Race for the Cure at Hildene Meadows.

In its first 15 years, the event has raised about $4 million in the fightagainst breastcancer. Lastyear, fundraising effortsraised nearly $500,000 for 19 nonprofit organizations, many of which are local, according to Myra Foster, a race spokeswoman.

The money funds education about the disease, early detection efforts and helping women cope, she said. This year's totals had not been tallied yet Sunday, but Carri Rubenstein, a breast cancer survivor and co-chairwoman of the Survivor Committee, said they could eclipse last year's despite a decline in the number of participants.

"It was such an amazing event," she said Sunday.

Rubenstein did her part on Sunday. She raised nearly $16,000, the most of any participant.

This year's festivities included a wishing tree, a Buddhist tradition in which wishes, written on paper, are tied to the tree. The wind then blows the wishes into the air, making them come true, according to the tradition. It was also the first year men and women ran together during the 5-kilometer race.

Bennington resident Tim Van Orden, 40, crossed the line first for the men with a time of 16 minutes 36 seconds. He was followed closely by Robert Lukaskiewicz, 38, of Rutland. Ian Scott,

19, of Franklin, N.J., Jeremy Allen, 20, of Rutland and Bridger Tyler, 16, of Landgrove rounded out the top five.

For the women, 18-year-olds Sophie Caldwell of Peru and Tyler Parker of Londonderry led the way with a times of 19:23 and 19:46, respectively. They were followed by a 10-year-old, Erica Viger of Granville, N.Y., who finished in 19:58. Heidi Lynn, 48, of Dorset and Annie Onishi, 22, of Westfield, N.J., closed out the top five.

In the walkers' division, Alan Leake, 56, of Bennington, Bob Gruver, 58, of Milton, and Connie Eaton, 46, of Manchester took the top three spots respectively. Janet Daniels, a 64-year-old from Hanover, N.H., was the top survivor finisher of all walkers. Kerry Clifford of Brandon was second among survivors. A stage IV breast cancer survivor, Clifford was the 2007 Survivor of the Year.

This year, Paula Quesnel, a Manchester resident, was named Survivor of the Year. The recognition goes to an individual who has survived at least two years since his or her original diagnosis.

Quesnel has been diagnosed with breast cancer on three separate occasions. She had hope for the future in a recent interview.

"I know there will be a cure in my lifetime," she said. "Thank goodness for this foundation and the research. Breast cancer is not a death sentence anymore." To see more of the Bennington Banner or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.benningtonbanner.com. Copyright (c) 2008, Bennington Banner, Vt. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

Copyright (C) 2008 Bennington Banner, Vt.

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