Survivors and supporters leading the way at 24th annual Race for the Cure

Thousands gather in downtown Toledo for the 24th annual Race for the cure (

Toledo, Ohio (WNWO)-- “It was like a hit in the gut, I was more scared of the chemo and the radiation," said Lorraine Willaby describing the moment she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite receiving the scary news she was able to overcome her fight and has been cancer-free for 17 years.

"The help of my closest friends and my faith has really brought me through,” said Willaby.

She's also a participant in the Susan G Komen 24th annual race for the Cure, a race geared towards raising awareness for breast cancer and raising funds for a cure, and has been for a while now—15 years and counting.

Yolanda Willis has been coming to the race over two decades. She races not only for a cure but for her mother.

"My mom died of breast cancer in 1998 and we started doing the walk in 1995," said Willis. Bigger than the race itself, it's the stories of triumph and trials that keep people connected, even just those standing in support for the cause.

"So many people from school and other places and it's just so great to see the community getting together," said high school student Kyleigh Crialsky.

While the Walk is about finding a cure it's also about prevention, which Cathie Patterson-- a 13 year survivor and 7 year racer-- says is key.

"I'm very grateful for the advances they've made since I was diagnosed," said Patterson.

Since it's conception in the 1980s the foundations hast invested more than $2.9 billion in research.

"Just remembering those you know that have gone on but also to show support so that we can find a cure," said runner Glenda Brown.

The battle against breast cancer is only for the toughest soldiers, which is why supporters and survivors alike say they'll keep fighting .

"If it happens to you just be strong," said Willaby giving advice to others.

To learn more about the susan G Komen Foundation and the Race for the Cure you can visit their website.

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