Northland News

Komen Columbus Race for the Cure

Cancer survivor knows power of support

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Ella's Angels will once again spread their wings at the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure Saturday, May 17.

The group's namesake, Ella Jane Hampton, said about 40 people -- mostly relatives -- will take to the street to show their support for cancer victims and survivors.

"It's encouragement," she said. "It's hope. It's smiles. It's tears.

"And I've been there, so I know what's really going on," Hampton said.

"And it's a disease that just doesn't affect one person. It affects so many."

Registration is necessary to participate in the event. The final opportunity to register will be from 6 to 8 a.m. the day of the race at the Verne Riffe Center downtown.

The 5K run starts at 8 a.m. at the corner of Elm and North Front streets in downtown Columbus. It wends its way through downtown streets and wraps up at the Columbus Commons.

At 9 a.m., the family fun walk begins. At 10 a.m., the survivor ceremony begins on the west side of the Ohio Statehouse.

An estimated 35,000 to 40,000 participants who don pink togs, wigs and other apparel are expected at the 22nd annual Komen Columbus Race for the Cure, which is the second largest Komen Race for the Cure event in the nation.

"Just in general it's a great way for survivors to come together and support each other, not just on race day, but every day throughout their battle," said Becca Thomas, director of events for Komen Columbus.

Hampton, 65, said her family has a history of breast cancer and two of her aunts died of the disease. She began getting mammograms at the age of 33. In 2003, at age 55, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She went through surgery and had a round of chemotherapy and radiation. She's been cancer-free more than 10 years and has been walking in the Komen Race for the Cure ever since.

"Every time, it's emotional," she said. "It never gets any easier."

Hampton, who lives on the North Side with her husband, Clyde, said she is one of the largest fundraisers for the local Komen affiliate. She said she lends her support to other women when she goes back to the hospital for checkups.

"I still go back for my six-month checkups and talk with the women," she said.

"We cry and we laugh and some are in their second and third rounds (of treatment) for it," Hampton said. "I just want these women to know there is light at the end of the tunnel."

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