Jacksonville, FL—February, 23, 2014—Technical Special Agents, Todd Pacholke and Rob James along with Brooke Martin, Manager Industrial Hygiene and Dr. Lori Aronovici, Manager Occupational Audiology, teamed up for the "26.2 with Donna" Half Marathon on February 23rd, 2014.
The race is very well known to Jacksonville residents as this is the 7th year Donna Deagan of the Donna Foundation, a 3 time breast cancer survivor, rallied runners in the fight against breast cancer. It is the only marathon in the US where 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research and care. This year, over 12,000 runners joined together for this event from all over the US and Internationally.
Breast cancer takes the lives of approximately 40,000 women each year, and is the highest cancer death rate for women in the US. Pacholke and Aronovici have both personally felt its impact in their own families and were happy to support the fight. "What better way to support finding a cure to this devastating disease than by using all your energy, having fun, being healthy, supporting all those who have survived, and of course remembering those we lost", says Aronovici.
No one felt this more that day than Pacholke who ran this race to honor the memory of his mother who lost her battle with breast cancer. When James discovered his friend Pacholke was running, he registered the night before the race in brotherly solidarity for the "finish" of breast cancer. "We all wanted to support our friend, Todd, as he honors the memory of his mom", Aronovici said. "It is a celebration of life, a celebration of the fight, in essence."
The spirit of the race was energizing, with a noticeable charge of emotion as bibs with lost family members' names or simply "survivor" written on the runner's shirt crossed the finish line. Everyone was dressed in pink: pink tutus, pink ribbons, pink feather boas, and even pink superman (superwoman) capes.
Along the route, there was live music and many supporters cheering, waving, and supplying necessary water, electrolyte gels, or treats. "It was great to have the support of CSX Chief Operating Officer, Oscar Munoz, who was handing out candies to the runners as they passed by", stated Martin. The motivation to "finish breast cancer" stayed with the runners as the support from the residents only increased further along the road. Aronovici noted, "As a runner, I felt like I had thousands of best friends that day."
Pacholke and Martin have each logged 3 half marathons. This was Aronovici's second half marathon and James' first.
For more information on the 26.2 with Donna marathon, please visit http://breastcancermarathon.com.