University President Joanne Glasser is asking everyone to trade in their Bradley red for pink on May 8.
That’s the day of this year’s Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, where Glasser will serve as the honorary chair.
“Honorary is too small a word to use as to how honored we are to have her,” said Eric Brinker, co-chair of the event. “This is a person for our cause and someone we all look up to.”
As the honorary chair, Glasser will serve as the “public face for the event.”
Glasser said she was thrilled to be asked and was amazed at the involvement of last year’s event, which was the first Peoria Race for a Cure to raise more than $1 million.
“I was particularly touched, overwhelmed and breathless to see the number of survivors,” she said.
Another large number of people at last year’s event was Team Bradley, which was made up of faculty, staff, students and alumni.
“It’s special for the entire Bradley community, because last year Bradley University came together as never before,” Glasser said. “Two hundred individuals raced and walked together, to make the largest university team ever and one of the largest in the race.”
The organization plans to use Team Bradley as its model for recruiting large groups of participants this year. Its campaign will also focus on fundraising by providing incentives.
Glasser said she also hopes to provide breast cancer awareness during the campaign and encourage men and women to get tested.
“My message to everybody today is this is a time to celebrate,” she said. “We’re making progress, but a lot more needs to be done. People are still dying.”
Glasser shared her breast cancer diagnosis with campus through an e-mail early last December. She is now in good health and remission.
“I went public with my diagnosis to show this disease can in fact strike anyone, anywhere, anytime,” she said. “I was not a candidate for this disease. I had no family history, my physical exams every year were fine. I felt great.”
Although breast cancer has a high survival rate, Brinker said in central Illinois, black women are dying at twice the rate of white women, and rural women lack transportation and knowledge to get tested.
He also said Peoria has a higher breast cancer rate per 100,000 than Cook County, which is the Chicago area.
Registration for this year’s Race for the Cure begins Jan. 1, and 2010 marks the 25th year for the race.