This Time, It’s Personal

The 2008 WNY Race for the Cure will be in Honor of Catherine Nagy

 She started fundraising for toys and a playground for her special education students living on the Island of Guam.  She continued for the Special Olympics and the March of Dimes.  But fundraising to end a disease became personal when her father and sister were diagnosed with breast cancer.  That’s when Catherine Nagy, a Grand Island native, began her participation in the Race for the Cure – and began a journey which would take her thousands of miles in the years to come.  A journey which was to become more personal every step of the way.

 “Shortly after my first walk, I discovered a lump under my left nipple – strangely enough, in the same spot my dad had so many years before,” says Cathy.  She underwent a lumpectomy and radiation, then went about with her daily life, enjoying her grandchildren and continuing her fundraising for various causes.  Around that time, she saw a television advertisement about the Susan G. Komen for the Cure 3-day Walk.  Excited that money raised from the race would fund breast cancer education, screening and treatment in her area, she went online and signed up.   

At her first walk meeting, she learned more about how to train for the 60-mile walk, how to gain support from family, friends and the community, and most importantly – about the mission of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.   

“I heard two things that make a deep impression on me, one is that Komen is an organization formed on by a promise to a sister,” says Cathy.  “And the second, that perhaps I could have a hand in making a future without breast cancer.” 

At first her family had doubts.  Her $12 walking sneakers looked brand new, and her idea of a walk was a stroll at the local shopping mall.  But they were in for a big surprise.  Cathy walked over 6,000 miles in training for the big day.  She also hit the pavement to fundraise – and by the Race Day had raised $8,000 in donations.  She began the Race with 3,000 other walkers, and throughout the Race course, she heard stories of hope and courage from other survivors and co-survivors.  And she crossed the finish line to find her family waiting with open arms.  At that point, Cathy knew that she would participate in the Race for the Cure until she could no longer walk. 

An avid traveler, Cathy soon mobilized her friends and family to walk in various Race for the Cures throughout the United States.  Says Cathy “as my cancer crept through my body the cause became much closer to our hearts.”  Her Race Team – Hope Rises, now participates in approximately six Race for the Cures each year, and raises an estimated $40,000 to benefit Komen for the Cure.  They have Raced in San Diego, Seattle, Temecula, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Boston, Tampa, Waco, Tucson, Washington DC, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Orange, San Francisco.  But as a native, “the Western New York Race is very special to us being my home town and that the walk is always close to Dad and Betty Lou's birthday.  They both were born on June 10th.”   

Though her cancer re-occurred in 2003, Cathy, who is now living in Mexico, is optimistic.  “I have met so many people on this journey and I am so grateful for all of them,” she says. “The Komen cause and the research has played such a big part in the survivors that are here today-the new medicines and the new attitudes to keep us mentally, physically, and spiritually well.” 

She also looks to the future, and hopes that breast cancer will be cured by the time her grandson has children.   

The Western New York Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is pleased to have Cathy Nagy as our 2008 Race Honoree.  Her courage, spirit and positive outlook on life, and her commitment to finding a cure to this disease are an inspiration to all. 

Cathy’s team, Hope Rises, has been formed for the WNY Race.  She has set a goal of having 50 team members with a minimum fundraising goal of $5,000!  Cathy will fly ‘home’ on May 10th for the WNY Survivor Luncheon – and she’ll also be at the Race for the Cure on June 14th.  Will you? 

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