Race for the Cure in Bloomington

By Beau Ebenezer

September 8, 2012 Updated Sep 9, 2012 at 3:54 PM CDT

BLOOMINGTON Ill -- Thousands came together in the twin cities, to take a stand against breast cancer.

Survivors filled the parking lot with pink at Bloomington's State Farm Headquarters Saturday morning with matching uniforms to show support for their team, and spreading awareness of breast cancer through a 5-K walk-run.

"It's just so inspiring and emotional. The attitude of these people is just un-real. I think it's a wonderful event," said breast cancer survivor, Anita Hartmann.

For breast cancer survivor, Maureen Kozel, participating in the race didn't seem like an option a few months ago.

"I thought I was on my death bed. I thought I was going to die. I thought that was the end of it. And it's like I can't believe I'm here today participating in this. That's how great it is."

Kozel, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March and underwent surgery a few months later.

Kozel is now cancer free, and she credits, in part, to the support of her sister and lifelong friends.

"We came to walk with her and make sure she was well enough, and to lift her spirits, and to wear silly things, and whatever it took to help," said Kozel's sister, Roberta Pacetti.

Saturday, that support system came together to walk for their sister and friend, now a survivor.

"Anybody, man or woman will feel isolated when they are given the diagnosis of cancer. But when you have people behind you, it gives you the strength to go on," said Kozel's friend, Cassie Francisco.

Kozel says her team raised close to $500 for the cause.

A cause, she says, she will continue to support for years to come.

Registration and fundraising for Race for the Cure in Bloomington goes until October.

They expect to raise up to $200,000.

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