BOISE -- It is an amazing sight every year, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Boise. Huge waves of people in pink charge through the streets.
But it's more than just an impressive sight. Each year the race raises hundreds of thousands of dollars to prevent and fight breast cancer in Idaho. And national statistics say that is sorely needed in the Gem State.
Since the first race in 1999, through grants, sponsors and donations, the Race for the Cure has raised millions of dollars to fight breast cancer.
The biggest chunk of that (75 percent) stays right here in Idaho, helping Idahoans. The other 25 percent goes to cancer research, which sometimes comes back to Idaho too. A Komen grant of $600,000 went to Boise State University researchers in 2010.
But where does that local money go? The $230,000 raised last year stayed in southwest and central Idaho went to 22 different programs. Five programs support survivors physically and emotionally, and even provide gas cards to get to the doctor. Six programs provide community outreach and give medical care vouchers. But the largest number of programs have to do with screening.
Why is the Race for the Cure focusing so much on screening? It's because Idaho ranks dead last in the nation for people who need breast cancer screenings, and getting breast cancer screenings. "That is our biggest need in this state and that is where the majority of our focus goes to - is getting women access to that treatment," said Jennifer Poole.
Poole is the race's mission manager and a third generation survivor herself. She says she's proud of how many people they've helped the past 15 years, but Idaho's ranking in screenings shows how much still needs to be done. "We estimate there's at least 55,000 women in Idaho who are in need of a mammogram, and aren't having it done. And we want to make sure we can go out there and relieve as many of those obstacles as we can."
Toward that, Poole says every little bit helps. A mammogram only costs about $150 and can save a life.
Organizers are expecting over 12,000 participants at Saturday's Race for the Cure. Festivities start at 7:30 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m.
You can also watch live coverage of the event on our Saturday morning news which airs from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. And there will be live streaming on KTVB.COM.