October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

    Okemos, MI– In the April 3, 2005 – April 16, 2005 (tncp 4-5) we ran a story about James, Ronnie and their daughter, Cadigan Smith of East Lansing,  and their fight against Ronnie’s breast cancer diagnosis. 
  The family has been selected as the 2006 Local Heroes in the Fight Against Breast Cancer.  The award will be presented today at 1:15 pm during BMW’s Ninth Annual Ultimate Drive Program for the Susan Breast Cancer at Lansing Imports (the former Williams Auto World) in Okemos.
   The Local Hero Award is given annually to someone who has made a significant impact in the fight against breast cancer.  Ronnie Smith and her family were selected for sharing their personal story of the impact breast cancer has had on their lives.
   Ronnie shared her personal, and recently, very public battle with breast cancer with the mid-Michigan community this past spring to raise awareness about breast cancer and the need for advocacy.  “Ronnie is one of those rare people that you immediately connect with when you meet her,” said Komen Greater Lansing Affiliate President Chris Pearson.  “You see her, she’s fighting this terrible disease, but the first thing she says is ‘How are YOU doing?’.”
   Ronnie was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 30, hours after giving birth to her daughter Cadigan.  “We received many calls and inquiries about Ronnie after the Race for the Cure,” said Pearson.  “She touched the hearts of countless individuals in our community by sharing her personal story and her fears about her future.”
    While one of Ronnie’s goals was to make her daughter proud, she also changed lives in the process.  “She encouraged us to take charge of our health, get involved in the cause, donate time & dollars, and live each day as if it were a gift,” Pearson said.  “I am honored to call her my friend.”
     The Ultimate Drive is a driving program created by BMW to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and community outreach programs.  The general public is invited to drive the fleet of BMW’s at participating Retail Centers during an Ultimate Drive.  For each mile driven in one of the BMW Ultimate Drive vehicles, $1.00 is donated to the Komen Foundation to support breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs.  To date, the Program has raised $8 million dollars.
    The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died from breast cancer at the age of 36.  Today, the Foundation is an international organization with a network of more than 75,000 volunteers working through local Affiliates and events like the Ultimate Drive to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease.  A global leader in the fight against breast cancer, the Foundation fulfills its mission through support of innovative breast cancer research grants, meritorious awards and educational, scientific and community outreach programs around the world.  Together with its Affiliate network, corporate partners and generous donors, the Komen Foundation has raised more than $740 million for the fight against breast cancer.  The Komen Greater Lansing Affiliate was established locally in 2001.