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Komen WNY Race for the Cure to honor longtime volunteer, breast cancer survivor

Sat, Jun 2nd 2018 09:00 am
Grand Island resident has worn something pink every day for 20 years
Linda Gray, a longtime volunteer for Susan G. Komen and a breast cancer survivor, will be honored at the 2018 Western New York Race for the Cure on June 9 at Buffalo RiverWorks.
Gray, of Grand Island, will be the "2018 Race for the Cure Honoree" based on her dedication and hard work on behalf of Komen and her overall efforts to bring awareness and impact on the fight against breast cancer. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Komen Upstate New York.
In July 1998, Gray saw a reminder on WGRZ Channel 2 to do a breast self-examination. She discovered a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer within weeks.
"After my surgery, the pathology report was rather dark, but God had other plans for my life," she said. "On Aug. 10, 2018, I will celebrate 20 years cancer free - a very long way from the six months to two years the doctors had predicted!"
In 2001, Gray attended Komen's first Western New York Survivor Luncheon. "I left the event feeling so encouraged and uplifted, that I was able to resume feeling hopeful and good about myself when looking in the mirror," said Gray. "It was then the I decided to join the Komen organization.
"I wanted to share my blessing of receiving a second chance in life by sharing my story, educating women (and sometimes men) on the importance of taking charge of your life as well as taking care of yourself. Komen's speaker's bureau afforded me this opportunity. Now, as a member of the board of directors I still have the opportunity educate, fundraise and work toward a breast cancer-free world."
Gray has made it a point to wear something pink every day since her diagnosis 20 years ago, whether it's clothing or accessories. "Sometimes it's only a piece of jewelry or a pin," Gray said, "but it's a humbling reminder to remain diligent in the fight."
Executive Director Liz Kahn said Gray has been an enthusiastic and hard-working volunteer and fundraiser for Komen, and she has a great understanding of the importance of making an impact on her community.
"Linda is a force of nature!" Kahn said. "She is fantastic at leveraging her passion, her expertise, her knowledge and her relationships to help in this fight. Western New York has benefited a great deal from her hard work and dedication."
As the 2018 Race for the Cure Honoree, Gray will lead the survivor procession and other survivor activities at the race, to be held on Saturday, June 9, at Buffalo RiverWorks. Hundreds of survivors attend the pre-race activities beginning at 7:30 a.m., which include a free breakfast courtesy of Wegmans, many giveaways, vendor booths, health screenings, and more. The 5K run and walk, for an expected 3,000 participants, begins at 10 a.m.
Since 2001, Susan G. Komen has donated more than $4.5 million to breast health and breast cancer programs in Western New York, with the majority of those dollars coming through the Race for the Cure. This will be the 18th anniversary of the Race in Buffalo and the third at Buffalo RiverWorks.
Proceeds go toward funding life-saving programs in the region that provide breast health education and breast cancer screening, treatment and support programs - all aimed at under-served individuals; also, to the Komen National Research Grants Program.

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