NEW BRITAIN - Linda Carroll understands the importance of breast cancer research.
The woman was honored by the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative on Thursday for raising more than $5,000 in pledges for the organization’s annual Race in the Park event this past spring.
“It’s not for me, it’s for other women and men that are battling this disease,” Carroll told The Herald. “Research makes a difference in finding a cure for this terrible, deadly disease.”
Carroll is a breast cancer survivor. She caught the disease at an early stage in 2015 and treated it with chemotherapy and surgery.
Carroll is now cancer-free, but many people close to her haven’t been as lucky. Breast cancer runs in her family, and one of Carroll’s younger sisters died from it years ago. Now, Carroll hopes to inspire other survivors.
“Losing your hair doesn’t mean you have to be down and out. You can still dress up, you can still exercise. … Being bald doesn’t make you unattractive,” Carroll said. “Hair doesn’t make the person. Your personality and what you do for others makes you.”
Through friends, family, coworkers and other people she knows, Carroll raised $5,581 this year for CT BHI, the most of any single contributor. The organization will distribute the money to researchers in Connecticut in the form of grants.
“I’m a survivor for other women and men, and my goal is to raise as much money as I can every year to help research and save lives,” Carroll said.
Carroll said collecting pledges is hard work, and CT BHI appreciates the contributions.
“When we conduct the race we’re always looking for big corporate sponsorships and things like that, but at the grassroots level there are people who want to figure out what they can do for us and the cause,” said Joyce Bray, president of CT BHI. “It starts out as a little thing and then it mushrooms into something bigger.”
Bray encouraged others to get involved.
“Anybody - if they put their mind to it and the effort and attitude that she (Linda) has – can do almost anything,” Bray said.
Carroll hopes to raise even more money for next year’s race.
“Don’t associate the ‘c-word’ (cancer) with death; that’s not the case. You just have to be a fighter,” Carroll said. “You can’t let cancer take control of you. You have to take control over cancer.”
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.