Oct. 13, 2008 | One of the founders of Arkansas’ Race for the Cure, Pat Torvestad, left her mark on the event again this year as honorary co-chairwoman.
Torvestad, vice chancellor for communications and marketing at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), served in the honorary position along with her fellow race co-founder Pat McClelland. The UAMS/Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute Team had 1,454 participants, making it the largest hospital team and the largest team overall, race officials said.
“The impact of Race for the Cure on the health of Arkansas’ women is enormous, and it would never have been possible without the persistence and determination of Pat Torvestad,” said UAMS Chancellor I. Dodd Wilson, M.D. “We are proud to have her as a member of our UAMS family and are equally proud of the work she does to promote the fine work of the Komen organization.”
“Karen Wooten was team captain for the UAMS/Cancer Institute Team. It was a tough job and she deserves a big thank you,” Torvestad said.
Torvestad served as co-chairwoman for the race in 1994 and 1995 and was president of the Komen Arkansas Affiliate in 1997. In 2005, Torvestad received the Hickingbotham Award for Service, the highest recognition from the Komen Arkansas Affiliate. The award is named in honor of businessman Frank Hickingbotham and his family, who were founding sponsors of the Arkansas Race for the Cure.
The 15th annual 5K women’s run/walk was held Oct. 11 in downtown Little Rock and drew nearly 46,000 participants from throughout the state. The event also includes a family fun run/walk and Three Miles of Men cheering section.
Proceeds from the race are used to provide grants to Arkansas organizations for breast health and/or breast cancer education, treatment, support or screening projects. More than $7.5 million in race proceeds has been distributed in Arkansas during the past 14 years.
Participants also had the opportunity at the race to fight breast cancer through UAMS’ Spit for the Cure research project. Women are requested to give a saliva sample that will be used to create a DNA database for future studies related to breast cancer risk and treatment. The project is designed to establish one of the largest and most rapidly assembled groups of women to aid in the study of breast cancer occurrence.