On your mark, get set, and get ready for the 19th annual Susan G. Komen Denver Race for the Cure on Sunday, Oct. 2nd. Race registration is open and the Komen Denver Affiliate wants 2011 to “Ignite the Passion!” The race, starting and ending at the Pepsi Center, has three events: the 5K Inspiration Run, 5K Celebration Walk, and a Family 1 Mile Fun Walk.

Race Times
7:00 a.m. 5K Inspiration Run (self-timed event) | 8:00 a.m. 5K Celebration Walk
9:00 a.m. Family 1 Mile Fun Walk | 10:15 a.m. Survivor Celebration Ceremony

How to Register: Registering online is the fastest and easiest way to sign up, organize a team and raise money. Participants can register online at: www.komendenver.org/race. Event day registration will be available from 6:00 – 9:00 a.m. at the registration tent.

How Are the Dollars Put to Work? The funds that are raised here are invested here. Seventy five percent of the net funds are returned to the service area in the form of grants for services to prevent and treat breast cancer. The remaining 25 percent of the funds raised here are pooled with money from other affiliates and distributed into the National Komen Award and Research Grant Program. It represents Denver’s contribution to finding the cure.

The Komen Denver Affiliate is currently funding 29 projects in the Denver-metro area, totaling $2.9 million, funding everything from mammograms to mastectomies, mortgage payments and meals through qualified grantees.

Denver Metropolitan Affiliate: 1835 Franklin Street, Denver, Colorado 80218 | 303-744-2088, Helpline 1-877-GO-KOMEN www.komendenver.org

Junko Kazukawa

On November 6, 2009, Junko Kazukawa ran the New York City Marathon 1 hour and 8 minutes slower than her personal best.

Turning in a performance that far off your best time is usually cause for great disappointment and more than a little anguish. But for Junko it was nothing short of a celebration of life!

Just over five weeks earlier, following a bilateral mastectomy in June, Junko completed her last chemotherapy treatment, laced up her running shoes, and picked up her training where she’d left off. It was a slow and often painful resumption, as the chemo played its ugly tricks and her fit body struggled to find its bearings again. One day was a glimmer of restored energy, but the next day was darkened by fatigue and unusually sore muscles.

In July, 2005, during a self-exam, Junko discovered a lump in her left breast. She waited a week or so, hoping it would go away. Working as a personal trainer and running/cycling coach, she was also training for the infamous Leadville 100 Race Across the Sky.

The lump did not go away, and Junko went to the doctor. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, but rather than “waste all that trai

ning,” Junko successfully completed the race, and then went in for her lumpectomy. Following radiation, she began the 5-year hormone therapy regimen and felt reasonably confident she would be cancer-free. She had no family history of the disease and lived an active, healthy lifestyle. But, as too many know, cancer defies predictability. And once again, in June of 2009, Junko was diagnosed with a new cancerous tumor in the same breast. She opted for a bilateral mastectomy because she didn’t want to keep wondering if cancer would show up again.

Now in 2011, Junko is 100% back, and has set her personal bar even higher!

This year, Junko will be running the Leadville Trail 100 Run — a 100-mile trail run. Junko’s latest athletic goal reflects her simple, matter-of-fact approach to all the challenges she’s faced. “I can do it,” you’ll hear her say. And in “doing it,” she inspires all of us to dig in when times get tough, and never, never quit!

Junko Kazukawa
I was diagnosed with cancer first when I was 42 and again at the age of 46. Even though you think you are healthy, have no risk factor, are doing everything right, you may get cancer. However, if you live in the way of a healthy, positive lifestyle, you can make it. I am glad that I was strong physically and mentally to bounce right back!

I’m currently 48, living in Denver and working as a personal trainer.

I have so many great friends that helped me get through the tough times and accomplish a 100-mile trail run race while raising money for the Komen Foundation. I could not have done this without these friends. Thank you.

Stay positive. Do what you can and what you want. You will make it!