This month’s Volunteer of the Month is Dr. Patricia Stafford, a long-time Komen Columbus volunteer and one of the women who started the Komen Columbus Marathon for the Cure team in 2010. Read our Q&A below to see what Tricia has been up to since she began volunteering for Komen.
Why did you decide to start volunteering with Komen Columbus?
As a mammographer for many years, I saw women who had dealt with breast cancer or the worry of breast cancer on a daily basis. I had participated in the Race for the Cure as a runner and sponsor, but was approached by Ruth Reiss after I gave a talk to a women’s group on breast health 8 or 9 years ago – she asked if I would be interested in serving as a grant reader for Komen. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work with the committee and the opportunity to see how the funds benefit our local community. I came to respect and appreciate the important role that the grants committee plays in assuring that Komen Columbus serves as good stewards of the funds that are raised.
What inspired you to start the Marathon for the Cure team?
Komen Columbus hosts one of the largest Race for the Cure events in the world. Knowing that physical activity reduces breast cancer risk and recurrence rates in survivors, I felt Komen should promote physical activity as a lifestyle, not just a once-a-year event. With the race in the spring, the timing is perfect for anyone who wants to commit to training to walk or run the half or full marathon in Columbus in October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Columbus Marathon is very walker-friendly, and perfect for first-timers. I honestly believe that nearly anyone, even with no prior experience, is capable of successfully completing a 13.1 mile walk if willing to put in the time to train. And I think that people are capable of far more than they give themselves credit for, and love to hear about first-time participants that have taken on the challenge of a distance event.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering for Komen Columbus?
Beyond the personal physical benefits, the Marathon for the Cure (MFTC) gives people the opportunity to honor or celebrate those in their lives that may have been touched by breast cancer. It was really exciting to have survivors on the team too – talk about inspiration! So it just seemed like a natural fit to bring the MFTC program to Columbus.
When you’re not volunteering for Komen Columbus, what do you like to do?
Of course, I love to run and walk, and can be found on the paths nearly every morning with a good friend who is just as crazy about it as I am. With three children, I have certainly kept busy with their activities. We love to travel and enjoy unique experiences as a family. I always have reading material on hand – lots of fiction, but also scientific and medical journals and books (latest focus on acupuncture – fascinating).
Thanks to Tricia for your years of dedication and service! Please support her Marathon for the Cure team fundraising online.