International Race for the Cure Recap: Bosnia and Puerto Rico

In 2008, we were very proud to have expanded the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure® series beyond its domestic Komen Affiliate network by establishing successful partnerships with leading nonprofit organizations from around the world to organize Race for the Cure events outside of the United States.  The International Race series has changed the way communities around the world view and react to the words “breast cancer” and how breast cancer survivors are regarded in their respective countries. 

While each International Race is unique, they all have the common goal of increasing breast cancer awareness, providing a sense of hope and community to those who have suffered from the disease and educating the public and local governments about breast health. Race events create a positive environment in which breast cancer is put in the public eye.  Despite local taboos, we have seen the power of women around the world breaking the silence about breast cancer.  On Race day, brave survivors acknowledge their disease and continue to dispel myths about breast cancer, serving as ambassadors for the cause.  As a result, other survivors feel hopeful and women are empowered to take control of their health.

But the impact of our International Race series doesn’t stop on Race day.  Thanks to these events, local survivor support groups have been established, access to screening, diagnosis and treatment has been increased, breast cancer awareness programs for key target groups have been created, and patient support programs continue to grow. 

Over the past month, Race events took place in Belgium, Greece, Germany, Italy, Puerto Rico, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Republic of Georgia and Tanzania.  In this four-part series , we recap these international events while providing information about their local mission work.

We continue the series with recaps from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Puerto Rico.

On October 5th, 2013, we celebrated the 6th anniversary of our Race at Vilsonovo Setaliste in Sarajevo with approximately 6,500 registered participants and 500 breast cancer survivors who traveled from 42 cities and towns to be a part of the event.  The Race is an integral part of the Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP) in Bosnia, a joint initiative of The American Joint Jewish Distribution Committee (JDC) and Komen.  Through this event we not only bring this sensitive issue to the forefront of public attention, but we are also building bridges and bringing together people from different ethnic groups to collaborate on a common cause. This is one of the few events which is organized on a national level, bringing all Bosnians together – Muslim, Serbs, Croats and Jews – from all over the country and from both political entities. 

We experienced an outpour of support from the international community in Sarajevo, with Embassy representation from the Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Greece, Kuwait, Norway, Romania, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey, U.S., and the EU. Check out the pictures from the event.

Susan G. Komen Puerto Rico hosted their 9th Race in San Juan, Puerto Rico on October 6, 2013. Over the years, the event has grown to be the largest Race on the island. They exceeded their participation goal, and over 15,000 people registered for the Race! Latina celebrities Adamari Lopez and Karla Monroig, along with other local VIPs, passionately supported this year’s pre-Race and Race activities.

Three celebrations of very special breast cancer survivors made this year’s Race especially meaningful. Brendaliz R., a two-year breast cancer survivor and bride-to-be wanted to get married where she felt most special – surrounded by her survivor sisters and the support of her local Komen community. Sonia R, another survivor, was proud to celebrate life and her 50th birthday at the event. Finally, for Angie Z., a survivor and Komen Puerto Rico volunteer, the Affiliate hosted a symbolic Master’s degree graduation ceremony on stage to honor this important milestone.

Funds raised at the Race provide much-needed screening and treatment services for underserved women, fund survivor support activities and support educational activities across Puerto Rico. Check out pictures and videos from the event.

Next up in our International Race recap series, we’ll recap events in the Republic of Georgia and Tanzania.

Read other recaps in this International series.

About the author

Susan G. Komen has written 342 articles for Susan G. Komen® | Blog

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.