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Race for the Cure returns to downtown Toledo to remember, celebrate

Thousands came together on Sunday to celebrate survivors, honor those who lost their lives, and spread a simple message; that early detection helps save lives.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Whether running, walking, cheering, or dancing, everyone that arrives at Race for the Cure comes carrying a story.

"When it was over, you just feel a sense of relief. Each year, you feel so happy you made it another year," said 22-year breast cancer survivor Shirley Helton.

For survivors, Race for the Cure means joy and the accomplishment of making it through the finish line of another year.

It means the world to me. I can't wait to say 10 years, 20 years," said 2-year 9-month breast cancer survivor Kelly Berzozka.

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Among the sea of survivors, in their pink shirts, are stories of those who didn't make it, carried on by those who loved them through the hard times of diagnosis, treatment, and last moments.

"Our daughter just passed in December, she had fought stage IV cancer for 11.5 years before she passed. Today is her 47th birthday," said Sharon Dietrich.

The memory of Dietrich's daughter Rachel is felt in the power and joy of others continuing this year's leg of the journey.

RELATED: Toledo family honors matriarch, her passion and her fights for justice and against breast cancer

Memorial and celebratory placards line a fence near the race's starting line with similar stories shared by others like Betty Greer, who's remembering her sister, lost just 6 months ago.

"Her smile, her fight, she said we're going to fight until the end, and she did," said Greer.

For friends Joanne and Sally every morning is started by a walk together, so today was just an eventful version of a regular routine and one with a message; get a mammogram.

It's a message felt throughout the event. While they are here to honor and remember, early detection can help save lives. 

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