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Race for the Cure Returns to Lawton

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LAWTON Okla_ Get ready to lace up your running shoes for a good cause. The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is coming back to Lawton this Saturday for the second year in a row!

The 5K kicks off 9:00 AM at Southwestern Medical Center. The event will be a time of celebration and fun, but it will also be a time of remembrance.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women ages 40-59. A lot of times, it's because the cancer isn't caught early enough. Signing up for the race could mean saving a life. Your money will be used to fund mammograms for women who can't afford them.

Clea Winham and Kami Roth have been best friends for years. When they met in home economics class, Winham never knew she'd one day credit Roth with saving her life.

"She made an appointment for me," Winham said. "She had just had her mammogram done, so she decided that I needed to have mine done."

That January appointment was the beginning of what Winham calls a bump in the road. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, it was in its early stages. She had surgery in February to remove two cysts and started 6 months of chemo this week.

"It's been a little difficult, since I had my first treatment," Winham said. "I've been very sick, but I'm trying to keep my spirits high."

Her best friend, who works at the breast center, is a big part in helping her to do just that. Roth sends a text message to Winham first thing every morning.

"I think it's important for her to have some encouragement every morning when she wakes up," Roth said, "No matter how bad she feels, no matter what that day is bringing."

Winham said support like that keeps her strong, even when she gets bad news, like she did earlier this week. Winham's blood work showed low counts, making her more susceptible to infection.

"I'm on antibiotics for 5 days," Winham said. "I have to avoid crowds, like going to Walmart."

That means she will have to miss the race, at least in person. She'll still be there in spirit. Her best friend will be volunteering in her honor.

"She will be here through me," Roth said. "We will do this together."

At future races, Winham is certain she will be crossing the finish line herself as a survivor.

"It won't last forever," Winham said. "It will last for a year, and then I'll be moving on."

Comanche County has more cases of late diagnoses and deaths from breast cancer than any other county in the state. That's why the race made its first appearance in Lawton last year.

The race has already registered double the participants it did last year, and they are welcoming more.

For more information, call Southwestern Medical Center at 580-531-4740 or check out  their website at swmconline.com.

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