BOISE - Saturday, May 12, is Boise's Race for the Cure. It will mark 20 years of raising money for breast cancer screening, education and treatment. Fran Robinson and Pat Carlson of Nampa have never missed a Race for the Cure in the last 19 years, and they're looking forward to this year - their 20th!
Robinson and Carlson have taken many steps together in their 43 years of friendship, and that includes fighting breast cancer.
Pat was diagnosed in 1979. She was 47 years old and had no history of breast cancer in her family. She felt a lump during a self-evaluation.
"The treatment was so different then in those days," said Pat. "There weren't that many people that were being diagnosed with breast cancer that I knew of," said Pat.
20 years later, her best friend Fran would learn the news.
"At the time I was expecting my first grandchild and I had a lot to live for and wanted to. I think that's important," said Fran.
Together, they supported and loved each other during the good and bad days of breast cancer treatment, both the first and second time around. Fran and Pat are both two-time survivors.
"You know at first when this hits you you're in denial. This isn't true. I refuse to accept this," said Pat. "I was mad for a long time. Absolutely mad. And then you're in deep depression. You go through that whole cycle of emotions when you go through this."
It was around the time of Fran's first diagnosis that the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation held its first Race for the Cure in Boise in 1999. Fran and Pat were two of the hundreds who participated the first year. They've never missed a Race for the Cure since!
"It's rejoicing with everyone the fact that we have been cured and have enjoyed a good life," said Pat. "And it's important to me to include, I think about the people that are going through the treatments at the time. And I pray they will have a good recovery too."
Fran and Pat say it's the people who make Race for the Cure so joyous - from the fighters, to survivors, to those walking in memory of a loved one. The community coming together to support one another, just as these two friends have done and will continue to do.
"It's a touching moment when you cross that line and you realize you still have all your family with you and friends and so much support," said Fran. "I just can't stress has meant to both of us."