JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Representatives from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure presented a painting Monday to A-State officials to commemorate the inaugural 2017 Race for the Cure at ASU.
"We presented ASU with this piece of work," said Julie Isaacson, co-chairperson for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure for Northeast Arkansas. "In commemoration of the race they hosted last year. We also wanted to make sure that everyone knows that this year's race will be April 28, 2018 right here at ASU."
Local artist Sara Howell was asked to take on the project.
"The painting itself is to signify 'Welcome to Jonesboro' for the first inaugural Race for the Cure," Howell said. "It has an arch which is symbolic for ASU and welcoming to Jonesboro. The middle of the painting is symbolic of runners. As if they were a big pack of runners coming forth for the Race for the Cure. And the balloons, which are released often at Race for the Cure, the balloons signify in each one of them something someone said to me about Susan G. Komen. What it meant to them."
Howell said this project was personal for her.
"I was 14 years old when I lost my mother to breast cancer," Howell said. "I've heard about breast cancer all my life. So, when the group asked me to do this painting it was quite emotional. It was very much something I put a lot of thought and love into. I hope it carries on as a wonderful symbol of what Susan G. Komen can do for so many people. The breast cancer is something near and dear to my heart, as I said, so therefore it was a perfect fit."
The painting is a collage done with acrylic paint and papers.
Howell said it was a process and hard to account for the number of hours spent creating it.
Isaacson said she was happy with the piece of art and who they picked to do it.
"This is personal for me," Isaacson said, who is also a former A-State employee. "As a 13-year survivor and a friend of Sara Howell, I can't think of a more appropriate, touching or wonderful place. I couldn't personally be more committed to this and to these people."
Isaacson said everything they do is about raising awareness.
"As a nurse, I am disappointed that we have one of the highest incidences of breast cancer and unfortunately one of the highest mortalities for breast cancer in Northeast Arkansas," she said. "And I believe that to be due mostly to lack of healthcare. Many of our counties do not have access even to mobile mammography. And so, our sisters are diagnosed late and with advanced disease. And we need to fix that. We need to raise money for Susan Komen. Get grants back to the area, get access to healthcare for women and knock those statistics down."
Beth Smith, Northeast Arkansas race director, said last year's race was a success.
"The inaugural race in 2017 at ASU was wildly successful," Smith said. "There were over 4,000 participants. Howell did a beautiful painting for us and we wanted to hang it in a public place where we have lots of people visit. And, of course, that's the Cooper Alumni Center on the Arkansas State campus."
Smith said they are working to raise money for treatment.
"The race generates a lot of attention because there are so many who are healthy and loved the whole race environment," Smith said. "But our race, in particular, raises funds for breast cancer research and treatment. And the Northeast Arkansas area, we have a higher mortality rate than the state overall. Because we have counties that are underserved by diagnostic mammograms. And so, if we can raise more research money and keep that money in Northeast Arkansas, which is the goal of our Northeast Arkansas race, then we can get those mobile units out testing and diagnosing early. If we can diagnose early, we can treat early, and the survival rate will increase."
Howell said she's honored the painting is hanging at the Cooper Alumni Center.
"They hosted this," Howell said. "I love ASU. I'm just thrilled. I love where it is. And it will just be a reminder that ASU hosted this big race. It was a huge deal and it will continue and I hope to be a part of it this year."
Registration for the 2018 Race for the Cure for Northeast Arkansas will start after the first of the year.
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