Runners celebrate life, combat breast cancer at 22nd annual Race for the Cure

CHICAGO — Thousands came to run or walk at the Race for the Cure in Montrose Harbor Sunday, marking Mother's Day with a celebration of life and a commitment to protect it.

"We wouldn’t be here without our mothers, so it’s a great way to honor those who are here and those who have passed," Aminah Abdullah said.

Cubs star Anthony Rizzo was among those walking or running at the 22nd annual 5K Sunday,  which has raised millions locally and more than $2 billion nationally for breast cancer research and treatment.

Among more than 2,500 runners and walkers taking part this year was Melinda Linas, a breast cancer survivor.

"Two years ago I had just finished treatment and my family and I had walked the race," Linas remembers. "I was tired, bald and weak, I said that the next year I would be back running and I was in this year I ran again. And my family is walking with some friends."

Linas' family, including her 6- and 9-year-old girls are her inspiration, she says, like so many others.

"I am lucky that I can run today when I know there are so many other women struggling, so I want to show them that they're not alone. I’m out here to support them," Linas said.

That support also inspires those like 1-year survivor Yana Nirshberg, whose grandma and aunt also battled cancer.

"Just Seeing all those women and going through it together and understanding incredible overwhelming. Glad to be here," Nirshberg said.

A sense of power, belonging and community for the thousands here, honoring survivors and remembering those who are here in spirit.

"I definitely don’t take for granted things in life, especially my family and my children," Linas said. "Even though the weather is cold and rainy nothing compared to what I went through and what so many women and families are going through."

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