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It was a sea of pink as far as the eye could see on Saturday morning when more than 8,000 people gathered on Daniel Island for the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, an annual event that raises funds for breast cancer research.
Rains the day before had left the normal parking location waterlogged, and cars were directed to a more distant field. Fortunately for late arrivals (made later by the backed up traffic coming onto the island), several pink streamer-clad golf carts sped participants to the pink balloon arch in front of the Family Circle Tennis Center, where a big party masqueraded as the packet pick-up area. Vendors passed out an array of information and products, everything from mammogram detection statistics to applesauce. Racers snacked on bagels and bananas. Teams posed for camera phone photos.
Comprising the kaleidoscope of all things pink were wigs, bandanas, feather boas, knee socks, and race bibs that carried the names of women who were either being celebrated or remembered. Survivors wore fuchsia-hued beaded necklaces—one strand for each year of life after cancer—and carried a carnation, a gift presented by race organizers during a poignant pre-race ceremony. My sister and I participated in honor of our friends' mothers—Libby, Felice, and Charilla—but meeting a 30-year-old woman in the midst of chemo was an eye-opening reminder that breast cancer is indiscriminate and we should all be vigilant with screenings.
Eventually, the record number of participants (a reported 1,400 more than last year) paraded toward the start line, eager to get moving—skies were overcast and there was a nip of fall in the air! The three-mile route wove its way through suburbia, past lawns decorated for Halloween and cheering homeowners, and doubled back to the start, where the all-things-pink party continued throughout the morning.
Turning tragedy into something life-affirming was the intent of Saturday's ShineFest, a music festival founded to honor the memory of a Citadel graduate who was killed in an automobile accident in 2007. Blues Traveler, The Original Wailers, Blue Dogs, Sol Driven Train, Sipe-Coffin Group, Dangermuffin, Gaslight Street, and Number One Contender filled the line-up of the concert spearheaded by Christi Page in memory of her late husband, Tripp. Proceeds from the concert benefit the Charleston Country School District and the Trip Page Endowment Scholarship.