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Komen Race for the Cure coming to Portland

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Komen Race for the Cure coming to Portland

CUMBERLAND — Marjorie Adams will run her fourth Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this year, honoring fellow cancer survivors and others who have been affected by the disease.

The race will be held in Portland this year for the first time, on Sept. 12, followed by the now-traditional Bangor race one week later.

Adams has run in the Bangor race for the past three years, and the Cumberland woman will participate in the 5-kilometer event this time in Portland.

The 60-year-old wife and mother of two was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2005. A lumpectomy followed, and then a mastectomy, after which Adams underwent chemotherapy and radiation and was on weekly Herceptin infusions for a year.

“It seemed to be a surprise to everyone, through the whole process, which I guess is not uncommon,” Adams said on Monday. “I had had a mammogram the previous December, which was clear.”

By March she realized something was wrong, and she eventually discovered a lump. Although her doctor did not think there was cause for worry, a biopsy ultimately revealed the cancer.

After completing her Herceptin treatments Adams underwent a bone scan and was found to be clear. Annual scans and subsequent blood tests have also given her a clean bill of health.

“Everything so far looks great,” Adams said. “I have no reason to think it won’t be.”

Adams said she was inspired to run the Komen race the first time by a friend who had been running in the Komen race with her Bangor-based brother.

She found herself among a huge group of women who had either battled cancer or were there because someone they knew had been affected by the disease.

“It was just an incredible experience,” said Adams, who has run for about 35 years and runs about 55 to 60 miles a week. “The Komen people have really figured out how to pull this event together in a way that celebrates women survivors and honors women who have died of this disease.”

She noted that a lot of non-athletes take part in the event. They walk, if they’re not runners.

“It’s just more an expression of solidarity and support for trying to find a cure for cancer, than really an athletic event,” Adams said.

Adams volunteers with the Pink Tulip Project, through which pink tulip bulbs are planted in municipal gardens throughout the state to raise awareness and money toward cancer research. All proceeds go to the Maine Cancer Foundation. She also took part in the Maine Cancer Foundation’s Tri for a Cure this month in South Portland, and two years ago she participated in the Komen 3-Day for the Cure event in the Boston area. She will run in the Chicago Marathon in October.

Every time she participates in the Komen race, Adams said, she is reminded that the fight against cancer is not over, since there is still no cure.

“There’s a lot of work to be done,” she said. “And it also reminds me that so many women have gone through this or are affected by it in some way. And, unfortunately, it reminds me that more women will have to go through this before a cure is found. So it just impresses upon me, the fact that we just have to be relentless in raising awareness and money to find a cure for this disease.”

Log onto komenmaine.org for more information about next month's race.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.