Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Lifestyles

May 8, 2014

'Do it for Her'

Registration opening soon for 2014 Race for the Cure

CROSSVILLE — Marty Lewis, a Susan G. Komen Upper Cumberland board member from Crossville, lost his mother, Cherilyn Lewis, in 1991 to breast cancer. He was 15 years old.

"She was diagnosed in 1989, but they found it late," Lewis said. His mother died 23 months after her initial diagnosis. "Back then, there weren't as many resources or as much emphasis on early detection as we have today.”

Lewis credits Susan G. Komen for much of that change.

"It's night and day," he said of programs available to aid women and their families from diagnosis, through treatment and into survivorship.

Lewis’ involvement with the Upper Cumberland affiliate began with a phone call to former Upper Cumberland Board President Eileen Stuber.

“My first contact with Marty was a phone call from him, out of the blue, on a Sunday afternoon. He introduced himself and said that he was interested in getting involved with doing fundraising for our Komen affiliate,” Stuber said. “He went on to explain that his mother died from breast cancer when he was 15. At that time no one even said the word 'cancer' much less talked about what was happening. He said that he had not been able to deal with all of his feelings about her death for many years. Now, as an adult he felt he was ready to face that loss and to get involved so that he could help others who are dealing with breast cancer by providing resources that were not available to him and his family.”

Marty is an avid golfer and began discussing planning a golf tournament with several friends. Through conversation, all three realized they each had a personal connection to breast cancer — one friend’s mother was a survivor, another’s sister was a survivor and Lewis had experienced the loss of his mother. That sealed it for the friends and they began planning a golf tournament in Cumberland County to benefit Komen Upper Cumberland. Lewis added a putt putt tournament for kids last year. He became a member of the Upper Cumberland Komen board of directors in November 2012.

"Komen keeps its funding local, and the people operating this charity are local people," Lewis said. "You can see how your donations are being used and, for me, I can see the differences in what services are available now and when my mother was first diagnosed."

Susan G. Komen of the Upper Cumberland puts donations to work in the community through grant programs that impact all 14 counties of the Upper Cumberland region. Seventy-five cents of every dollar raised remains in the Upper Cumberland region. Since 2008 the Upper Cumberland affiliate has given more than $740,000 in community grants to area non-profits. The remaining twenty-five percent goes to fund ground-breaking research. Every major advance in the fight against breast cancer has been touched by Susan G. Komen. Komen has provided more money for breast cancer research and community health programs than any entity besides the U.S. government, keeping the organization's promise to “save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all, and energizing science to find the cures.”

Lewis will be signing up for the 2014 Race for the Cure, set Sept. 21 in Cookeville. One of the major fundraising events of the local affiliate, the 5K Race offers an opportunity for him to honor his mother, to race as well as all the mothers and families touched by breast cancer.

This year’s Race theme is “Do it for Her” and in the past, Lewis’ mother was the “her.” Now, Lewis has a new “her” in his life, four month-old daughter, Emory, who has given him even more reason to continue fulfilling Komen’s mission.

Registration for the event will open soon and if you would like to get involved please visit www.komenuppercumerland.org call (931) 303-0096 or email at info@komenuppercumberland.org

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