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Breast and Ovarian Cancer Race is Saturday, May 12 in Detroit Lakes

Mother's Day weekend proves to be a popular time for the breast/ovarian race, as many families sign up to run together as a way to honor the women in their lives.1 / 3
The second annual Breast & Ovarian Cancer Race will kick off at the Detroit Lakes City Park this Saturday, May 12 with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. and the walk/run starting at 9 a.m. Event organizers are hoping for at least 500 participants this year after last year's impressive inaugural event of 350 runners and walkers.2 / 3
Fighting like girls, Jenny Lessman (left) and Jessica Peterson spearheaded the event last year.3 / 3

Every year, one out of every eight women in the United States is told she has breast cancer.

According to statistics provided from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website, 39,510 women in the U.S. will die from the disease this year.

Add to that another 15,500 women who are expected to die from ovarian cancer and the statistics begin to climb to a very scary place.

Women all over continue to fight those odds with fundraisers that contribute to cancer research.

Locally, that fight is being fought publicly as the Breast & Ovarian Cancer Race kicks off in Detroit Lakes on Saturday, May 12.

Co-founders of "Simply Pink Truly Teal" (a campaign to raise breast and ovarian cancer awareness), Jessica Peterson and Jenny Lessman are organizing the event, which befittingly takes place Mother's Day weekend.

Both of the Detroit Lakes ladies have been touched by cancer, as Peterson's mother is a breast cancer survivor and Lessman's mother is an ovarian cancer survivor.

Lessman's aunt was its victim.

Neither one of them plan on waiting around to see if they get the disease -- instead, they're rallying the troops and raising money for the Sanford Cancer Embrace Survivorship Program.

"It's a fairly new program with Sanford," said Peterson.

"It's not necessarily breast and ovarian cancer, but everyone who is going through their journey of cancer, helping with expenses like gas vouchers or money for testing they can't afford."

For last year's first-ever event, Peterson and Lessman began throwing it together, not knowing how it would be received.

"We were hoping for 100 people and totally got blew out of the water," said Peterson, stating that 350 people showed up for the event.

"This year we're hoping for 500," said Peterson.

Registration begins Friday, May 11, from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the DL City Park and again on Saturday from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

The race starts at 9 a.m., with participants having the option of a 5K run/walk that goes from the city park to the Holiday Inn and back or a 10-mile run that goes around the entire lake.

Peterson says with the race being on Mother's Day weekend, a popular thing seems to be the mother/children teams.

"Kids are defiantly welcome," said Peterson, "and there's no charge for the kids if they don't want a bag and a race number."

By "bag," Peterson means the race bags they will be handing out to participants that are filled with coupons from local businesses sponsoring the event.

Showtyme DJ will be providing the music, Lakes Country Bakery is donating 480 muffins, and Social Cup will be bringing the java -- ensuring participants are sufficiently "carbed" and "caffeined" up.

There will also be "fight like a girl" t-shirts available for $15.

The race will have chip timing this year, which is digital timing for participants attempting to beat their records.

"We do have some people who come to the event for just the fitness part of it, and there are those who come just for the cancer part of it," said Peterson.

One of those people is Darcy Johnson, whose mother passed away in 2005 from ovarian cancer.

Johnson is traveling from Arizona to participate in the Detroit Lakes event as a way of honoring her mother.

Tooty Johnson of Mahnomen battled the disease for six-and-a-half years, and now her daughter continues that fight with events like this.

"I make a point of doing several of these events every year. I guess it's just my way of staying connected with her. She was such a fighter," Johnson said.

"My mother loved life; she was the post master for several years in Mahnomen, spent the summers at the lake, and played her guitar and banjo at several local charity events."

The cost to enter the race is $25.

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