For Race for the Cure Team Captain Jill Mason, participating in the Susan G. Komen breast cancer fundraiser and outreach event in Portland each year is a family event inspired by a woman who is dearly loved and remembered.
After their mother, Cricket, died of breast cancer in the Spring of 1993, Mason and her sister rallied family members together to participate in the walk the following year. “Cricket’s Crew hasn’t missed a year since we started,” she said with a smile.
A photo from one of their first years shows Mason with her sister and daughters wearing their matching Race t-shirts, standing in front of a rock outside of Mason’s neighbor’s home.
Mason pointed to one of the young girls in the photo and chuckled: “her t-shirt was hanging down to her ankles – now it fits like a normal shirt!”
What began with just the women of the family quickly grew to what it is today: a multi-generational family reunion of sorts. Each year, brothers, sisters, cousins, and in-laws, travel, or sleep in, from across the country – some as far as Maryland, North Carolina, Iowa, and Idaho – to participate
in the walk.
Last year was their team’s biggest year yet with 29 participants. This year – the 25th anniversary of Race for the Cure in Portland – looks to be even bigger. And just like the early years, no team member is too small to participate: eight are three years of age and younger. The youngest, born just weeks ago, will be about two months old when he dons his pink Team OHSU t-shirt on September 18 in honor of his great-grandmother.
Before the walk begins however, the team will gather briefly for a picture in front of the same rock they’ve been photographed in front of for the past 22 years.
A faculty member in the OHSU School of Dentistry, Mason spends part of her time in clinic with students and patients. She also directs all community-based rotations – where students go work in public health and community clinics.
Join #TeamOHSU and post your pictures from the Race to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #OHSUKnight.