BUFFALO, NY- Thousands of Western New Yorkers will be wearing pink this weekend as they take part in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. It's an opportunity to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer research, honor those who have lost their battle, and celebrate survivors, like Marilou Owczarczak of Lancaster.
This Lancaster wife and mother of three who's also a fitness instructor first ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure three years ago. The following year she was a volunteer. But last year's race was different. She says she was paralyzed with fear.
Marilou had been diagnosed with breast cancer just a month earlier. Her battle was just beginning.
"They say you're a survivor day one when you're diagnosed. Well in my personal head, I didn't survive anything. I was not going to go under that arch of balloons. I was not going to go across that stage. I didn't survive anything at that point," said Owczarczak.
For the next year, Marilou's treatment included radiation and a lumpectomy. The whole time Marilou tried to remain positive, not just for herself, but for her family.
"She was really strong and she kept a positive mind when she was going through radiation and stuff," said Marilou's 12-year-old son Brady.
" I knew she was going to make it. She's a strong lady. And she never gave up hope," added Marilou's 19-year-old son Ryan.
That hope is now triumph. Marilou is cancer free and ready to participate in the Race for the Cure as a survivor.
"This year I'm probably going to squeal a little. I'm going to walk right across that stage. I will try not to do cartwheels," she said.
Marilou will be sending this message for her fellow survivors, "everybody in their own cancer journey is a warrior and they fight really hard. It's a big deal. It's a big deal. So they should walk around so proud."
There's still time to sign up to be a walker or runner in the 5K or join Channel 2's team. You can volunteer or donate as well. Seventy-five percent of the funds raised stay right here in Western New York.
The race is being held this Saturday, June 7, 2013 at 10 a.m. at the Delaware Park Rose Garden. To learn more about the race or to sign-up click here.