NEW BRITAIN – Marking her seventh year as a breast cancer survivor while facing a global pandemic, Alyson Caron said while many things look different, she is grateful to continue to do important work for the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.
“I miss seeing all the people, especially setting up for the annual Race in the Park. But the fact that we are still doing it, even though it’s virtual, says a lot about the initiative’s commitment even during a pandemic,” she said.
Caron, 45, has been volunteering with CT BHI for many years in various capacities and has participated in the Race in the Park event since its inaugural start 17 years ago.
The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative, Inc. is a statewide non-profit organization in the quest to find a cure for breast cancer by providing grants to support education and research in Connecticut. All funds raised by the organization stays in the state and through almost two decades, $4.1 million and 102 grants have been provided to research and education initiatives across the state, including in Bridgeport, Danbury, Farmington, Hartford, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk and Stamford.
The 2021 virtual Race in the Park will be Thursday May 6 through Sunday May 9. Anyone can participate from anywhere at any time during the four-day period. Registration is now open and fees are: Standard pricing $25, through May 2; or Race Week $30, May 3 to 9; and children under 12 can be registered for $15. All information can be found at ctbhi.org/the-race.
Caron, a Terryville resident, was diagnosed at 38 years old and the news came as a shock. She said despite her family having had several breast cancer survivors and those who passed on, the fact that she was diagnosed was still a surprise.
“It was mostly because I was pretty young,” Caron said. “Thankfully, having seen other women in my family go through the process of treatments, I was able to have that support from the get-go.”
Fortunately, doctors caught the cancer early and it was detected through a mammogram, rather than a regular screening. The cancer was at stage one when Caron went through biopsy treatments and she has been cancer free for many years.
After the first year, she said she started to set up more screenings with her physician and followed all medical recommendations.
“All I do now is continue to do more checkups, which is what I would also suggest those with similar situations like mine to do,” Caron said.
Looking ahead, especially with the weather becoming nicer, Caron is looking forward to the Race in the Park.
“This is something that me and my family have been passionate about all our lives,” she said, stating that one of the major reasons was because they knew where the money is going. “Sometimes when you have a big organization, you don’t know where your donated money is going. But with CT BHI, you do know, and you know these people are fighting for the same cause as you, and that keeps us driven.”
She will miss going to the park and help with the setup among friends and family, but Caron is just glad the event is still happening.
“This is a new experience for most people. But we already have tons of teams registered, which goes to show how much impact the organization has had on them and the impact that they’ve had on us,” she said.
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