Over the years, Komen Columbus has had some outstanding volunteers who have donated much of their time and talent in the fight to help us end breast cancer forever. This week, we would like to shine a light on a particular standout volunteer and veteran Team Captain in the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure, Miguel Perez.
Miguel has been a strong advocate for Komen Columbus for several years and his passion seems to grow stronger year after year. His whole family has been participating in the Race for the Cure in Columbus since 1994 and he has been volunteering regularly for us since 1999. Miguel said he initially got involved in Komen Columbus after his sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. He started taking part in events and getting more involved in all aspects of Komen Columbus to help in the search to find a cure for the disease. He has said that his sister is a strong driving force behind his motivation with Komen for the Cure.
Then, in late 2001, Miguel and his family got the news that his sister had another recurrence of her breast cancer. This was her 5th incident in 11 years. Miguel said he knew he needed to channel all his energy into supporting his sister. He asked her if he could start a team in her name for the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure and that he would try to get 100 people on the team and design a one-of-a-kind t-shirt with her name on it. Although Miguel said his sister was never a shy person, it took some convincing to get her to agree to the idea of an entire team created just for her and her personal battle against breast cancer. However, once she gave him the go-ahead, Miguel dove head first into fundraising activities and grew his sister’s team, Team Perez, up to 126 registered members in 2002.
Despite her declining condition during Race time that year, Miguel’s sister went to the Race and stood at the finish line watching family, friends, neighbors, loved ones and even some strangers cross the line in her team shirt. The family held a big celebration afterwards with all team members to thank everyone for their hard work and support. Sadly, Miguel’s sister passed away only three weeks later.
Since then, Miguel has kept the team going every year and has racked up some impressive stats:
2003 – 250 members
2004 – 385 members
2005 – 560 members
2006 – 750 members
2007 – 1000+ members
2008 – 1284 members
2009 – 1107 members
2010 – 1013 members
2011 – 1086 members
We are very excited to see how many participants Miguel will get for this year’s Race for Cure. His dedication over the years has been inspirational to so many people. He has called his efforts “a small contribution I can make in getting the word out.” He went on to say, “Yes, it’s about the numbers, but every email I send out I see as another chance to educate, share a story, spread awareness, make a difference. Maybe even save someone or inspire someone to take action.”
We want to thank Miguel for everything he has contributed to Komen Columbus over the years. Our organization thrives off the commitment, enthusiasm and support from people like him and we hope his story will continue to inspire those around the community.
Want to be a part of Team Perez for this year’s Komen Columbus Race for the Cure? Click here, or visit komencolumbus.org and click the “Register Here” button.