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Blues Join Fight Against Breast Cancer

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Blues players and their families joined more than 1,800 fans to support the fight against breast cancer on Saturday, June 12 in downtown St. Louis (Mark Buckner).

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It was nearly 11 months ago when doctors sat down with Beth Reed and said words that no woman ever wants to hear: you have breast cancer.

Almost immediately, she thought about her family, about the five children she cares for and how their lives might be affected without her around. She thought about her husband, with whom she had made a life and shared so many memories. And she thought about her grandson and how she couldn’t imagine not being there to see him grow up.

And so she told herself she had plenty to fight for and that she would win her battle.

On Saturday, in nearly 90-degree heat at the corner of 14th & Clark Avenue, she prepared for her first walk at the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure event.

“My coworkers signed me up. This is pretty neat,” she said, wearing a pink survivor T-shirt with a Blue Note and a pink ribbon on the chest. “I’m going to try the 5K walk today. This is pretty amazing. I don’t think I’ve seen this many people supporting us.”

The St. Louis Blues organized a team at Saturday’s event for the fourth consecutive year, providing team members an opportunity to meet several Blues players, alumni, broadcasters and team mascot Louie at a pre-race event. They also received a light breakfast and had an opportunity to sign a banner that will be displayed behind the Blues’ bench at Hockey Fights Cancer Night during the upcoming season.

More than 1,800 people signed up to fight breast cancer with the Blues, raising more than $60,000 to benefit Komen St. Louis. Saturday’s race was the Blues’ most successful fundraiser for Komen St. Louis.

“It’s so easy for so many of us to come down to the Race for the Cure because it’s such a great cause,” said Blues TV broadcaster John Kelly, whose father, Dan, passed away after a battle with cancer in 1989.  “I think every person in the world knows somebody that has been diagnosed with cancer, including breast cancer. It’s so close to home to so many people. I know this race here in St. Louis is one of the biggest in the entire country, and it shows how much the community cares and how great the city of St. Louis is.”

Current players Eric Brewer, Brad Winchester, Ty Conklin and Tyson Strachan met with fans and signed autographs prior to the race. Prospects Ben Bishop, Ian Cole, Phil McRae and Brett Ponich also came out to lend their support. The Blues' team was sponsored by Fox Sports Midwest and Saint Louis University Hospital.

“I think hockey guys for the Blues have always done a lot, we just don’t necessarily advertise it,” said Brewer. “I think for the guys who were able to come down and do something as big as this race today, I think we’re all very happy to do it.”

According to the American Cancer Society in 2009, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women and is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women. About 40,000 women in America die from it each year, making it even more important that money be raised to find a cure.

More than 71,000 people participated in Saturday’s race overall, setting a record for the best
turnout at the Komen event. Early reports indicate more than $3.35 million was raised, which will go a long way towards supporting breast cancer research.

And it goes a long way towards helping people like Beth Reed, who after enduring chemotherapy through an IV, continues to undergo treatment in pill-form.

“I have a husband and kids at home, and a grandson, so I have to keep going,” she said.

“Anytime there’s a personal connection, (fighting cancer) is always more meaningful,” Brewer said. “I think everyone being out here is an incredible sign.”

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