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River of Rain Doesn't Stop 'Team NIH'

By Dianne Needham

Even the rainmaker couldn't deter the 400-member Team NIH from participating in the 14th edition of the National Race for the Cure. As one runner aptly put it, June 7 event participants met with a "river of rain" as water fell from the sky. The steady downpour presented challenges in the form of puddles, umbrellas and plastic coverings for all runners and walkers as they made their way through the 5K, or 3.1-mile, race course on the Mall in Washington, D.C.

NIAID and NCI staff members and families gather before the race begins.

Members of the Department of Health and Human Services staff led by Deputy Secretary Claude Allen bolstered Team NIH or what everyone began calling "Team Umbrella." At least 50 individuals from HHS joined Team NIH at the corner of 15th St. and Constitution Ave. before the race.

With more than 60,000 people signed up, at least 40,000 turned out on race day. The National Race is the largest event of its kind in the world, growing from one race in Dallas in 1989 that attracted some 7,000 runners to this year's 1.4 million entrants in races held nationwide. These events raise awareness of, and support for, research on breast cancer and diseases affecting women's health.

Six-year-old Brady Cusack, son of NCI oncology nurse Georgie Cusack, shows his Team NIH support.

Teams represented schools, embassies, corporations, government offices, congressional offices and churches. Team NIH members' comments, when asked why they were doing this, were representative of all race participants — a friend, a relative, someone they knew or were close to had been affected by breast cancer.

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