As Komen race returns to Athens, Heritage College celebrates 17-year partnership

Oct 20, 2016

Komen Athens Race for the Cure 2015

When Susan G. Komen Columbus brings its Race for the Cure back to Athens on Sunday, Oct. 23, it will mark only the second time the renowned event, which raises money to prevent breast cancer and search for a cure, has been run in Athens. However, Komen’s deep connection to the area dates back much further through its long-standing partnership with the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Kathy Trace, R.N., M.H.A., director of Heritage College Community Health Programs and Area Health Education Center, first made the connection with Komen shortly after she took over as head of CHP in 2000. The partnership has played a major role in advancing CHP’s mission during Trace’s time at the helm and has produced benefits for the college, for Komen and for area women.

“I was very fortunate when I first started here,” Trace recalls. “Because someone told me about a very good experience that she had had with Susan G. Komen when she had breast cancer – Komen had just given her so many resources. She said, ‘I wanted you to know that they give out grant funds, so it might be something you would be interested in.’ So I called them. And it started a relationship that has just continued to blossom over the last 17 years. It was a phone call that I’ll never forget, and I tell the Komen people every time I see them, ‘Thank you for helping me these programs off the ground.’”

From 2001-2017, Komen has provided CHP’s Healthy Adult Project: Breast Education & Screening Program with more than $1.16 million in funding. Before Komen’s involvement in the college’s breast cancer initiatives, Trace said, “there were some breast and cervical cancer programs started, but they were very infrequent, because there was really no funding for them. Komen doesn’t fund the cervical screening part, but they do fund the breast part, so they allowed us to get the programs up and running, and then we were able to find some additional funds for the cervical screenings. And we were able to expand and begin traveling into multiple counties because of that funding.”

The alliance has been a boon to both partners. “Kathy Trace has been meant so much to Komen Columbus,” says Executive Director Katie Carter. “She has embodied what it means to be a true partner in the fight against breast cancer.  She has always been an incredible leader in the community and leads by example. She is one of kind and will be terribly missed.” Trace is set to retire from her position with the Heritage College on March 1.

The Heritage College is once again serving as a Gold Sponsor of the Athens Race for a Cure. The OHIO School of Nursing in the College of Health Sciences and Professions is designated as a Pink Glove Partner for the event, and CHSP is a Pearl Sponsor. Both the Heritage College and CHSP have also created teams for this year’s race: the Heritage College’s “Passionate Soles for a Cure” and “Ohio University CHSP.”

There’s still time to register to run or walk in the Susan G. Komen Athens Race for the Cure. Online registration will remain open until 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, at www.athensraceforthecure.org. Participants can also register in person between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday at the Athens Community Center and between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday at the Walter Fieldhouse. Online donations can be made through the website.