2014 Northwest Ohio Race for the Cure weekend kicks off in Findlay

(Toledo News Now) - It's the 2014 Northwest Ohio Komen Race for the Cure weekend!

Whether running in the race or volunteering to make it happen, thousands of people will come together in Toledo and Findlay to support and celebrate one another and raise awareness for breast cancer.

This is only the second year for the Findlay Race for the Cure. The race began at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 27. Last year, the race drew a little more than 3,000 participants. At last check there were more than 3,500 registered this year.

The winner of the Findlay race finished the 5K in about 14 minutes. Evan Gaynor has participated in other Race for the Cure events and has even won the Glass City Marathon in the past.

"I'm glad to support helping in the battle against breast cancer," Evan said. "My brother is actually a survivor – not of breast cancer, but a cancer survivor. He's actually running the race today, and I just wanted to get out and run with him...It's just an amazing show of support down here, especially for a second-year event…I was just very happy to see that."

About 10 minutes after Evan, the first breast cancer survivor crossed the finish line. Deanna is a 17-year survivor. She has been volunteering with Race for the Cure for years and runs in the race every year.

"It's a pretty amazing feeling. I had good crowd support along the way, some people from my school were out cheering for me, so it's a good day," Deanna said. "The growth in Findlay has been incredible. We set out thinking we'd get maybe a thousand runners last year and we topped 3,000. Just the way the community comes out to support makes it almost – kind of a party-like atmosphere out here…It's more of a community experience, I think."

Despite the party atmosphere it's all done with one somber purpose, to find a cure, to make this event no longer necessary.

"They understand the very real need. There's very high risk here in the Hancock County area, Seneca, Allen, they're all high risk counties," said Susan G. Komen Executive Director, Mary Westphal.

The 21st annual Toledo Race for the Cure will take place on Sunday. You can register for the Toledo race at the Stranahan Theater on Heatherdowns Boulevard in Toledo on Sunday before the race starting at 7:30 a.m. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. and will likely draw tens of thousands of people to downtown Toledo.

Find information on donating, see survivors' stories and more here.

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