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Men and Women Fighting Breast Cancer

Reception honors sponsors of Race for the Cure, the 5K run that benefits research, treatment and education.

September 24, 1996|KATHRYN BOLD

Bruce Boland, a retired Navy admiral, is helping spread the word that men get breast cancer too.

Appearing before 200 sponsors of Race for the Cure--an annual 5K run that benefits breast cancer research--Boland discussed his battle with breast cancer. He spoke Thursday at a reception at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Tennis Club. The race's executive committee staged the party to thank supporters of the run, which was held Sunday at Fashion Island Newport Beach and expected to raise $500,000.


An Admiral's Tale

"When I tell people I had cancer, they immediately think of prostate cancer. I have to say, 'No, it was breast cancer.' Their jaws drop," said Boland, chief executive officer of United Way of San Diego County, who was accompanied by his wife, Elaine.

Boland told guests how breast cancer had devastated his family. His mother died of breast cancer, and his sister survived the disease.

Boland's battle with the disease began on a ski trip to Big Bear with his son and son-in-law in February 1995.

"I was taking a shower, and I felt a lump in my chest," he said. He quickly sought diagnosis and treatment, undergoing a mastectomy.

"Because I was attuned to the disease, I did something. But the mortality rate among men is very high because they don't pay attention," he said. "They figure they've just pulled a muscle."

Breast cancer is expected to strike 183,000 women and 1,400 men in the U.S. this year, killing 44,000 women and 260 men.

"It's very important we get the word out," Boland said. "Most people don't understand it's not a disease that strikes only women."


Run for Susan

On the occasion of the Race for the Cure's fifth anniversary, event organizers had reason to celebrate. The Orange County race, one of 64 held on behalf of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, is one of the largest 5Ks in the state. In four years the local race has raised $1.1 million.

"When we first started, we had about 4,000 participants. This year we have more than 10,000," said Nina Rattner, reception chairwoman. "This has been a success because it's an issue of such concern to so many women as well as men."

Orange County has one of the highest rates of breast cancer detection, she said.

This year more than 500 breast cancer survivors participated in the race.

"For some people, making it from one race to the next is very important. If they make it to five years [without a recurrence of the disease], the prognosis is very good," said Sandy Finestone, race chairwoman and a breast cancer survivor.

The Komen Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan, who died at age 36. Breast cancer research, treatment and education are the foundation's primary goals.

"We encourage women to go for mammograms starting at age 35," Rattner said.

The VIP reception honored those who had donated $2,500 or more to the race. Among those attending were Kristina Kiesler, reception co-chairwoman; Suzanne Edwards, mistress of ceremonies; Jacquin Anastasio, race co-chairwoman; Robyn Wagner-Holtz, foundation president; Anne Morris; Bob Butcher; Jon Holtz; Jane Hill; and Marcia Jager.

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