Wings of Karen 5k Bra Dash

Pink Steel

May 22, 2016 8:00am - 11:30am

We are Dashing with a Purpose!

Working directly with the research community, Wings of Karen gets the most mileage out of every dollar donated.  This is a race save lives, and we are dedicated to finding cures faster. With an absolute sense of urgency, we grant researchers the flexibility and permission to do the needed preliminary work, quickly and efficiently. The faster we fund and nurture these promising early ideas, the faster we will find the answers that will lead us to a cure.

There is passion behind everything we do at Wings of Karen. This passion is shaped not only by the personal battles with breast cancer by the founder of Wings of Karen, but also by the unyielding desire to reach out to all those affected by breast cancer in a positive, uplifting way, and in the process, funding the research that will find a cure.

It is a race to save lives, and every day brings a new opportunity to make a connection, energize a survivor, empower a new generation, and raise the crucial funds needed.

The 5k Bra Dash® is a celebration of what we CAN do as a community to join the fight against breast cancer.

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Your Team Personal Story

Hi! Welcome to the Team Pink Steel page!

Pink Steel is my now 12-year-old daughter’s creation. It came out of her brain as a coping tool for dealing with her fear around her mom’s breast cancer diagnosis – a pretty big event in her young life.

She was a Girl Scout at the time, and her only experience with the topic of breast cancer was the fact that Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, had breast cancer and died from it. 100 years ago, I pointed out to her.  Our treatment protocols have come a long way since then, and as my first medical oncologist said – no one ever died from cancer in the breast.

But none of those arguments could chase out the fear.  Not for her, and not really for her parents, either.  Our rational brains could accept that I probably wasn’t going to die from this.  But the idea that shouted the loudest was “This is cancer. And I am scared.”

What got me through the fear on most days was that there was no other option for me – I was doing the protocol, all of it, and I would worry about the possible side effects after I deal with this one thing first – this 11.5cm tumor that had taken up residence in my right breast.

I listened to the warnings.  Possible heart damage to manifest years after the Adriamycin/Cytoxan cocktail infusion?  Bring it on.  Possible secondary cancer in the years after radiation for breast cancer? Let’s do it anyway, because these future outcomes are only possible, and I’m dealing with what is NOW.  In 2013 my only thought was: I have breast cancer now, that’s not a maybe, that’s a fact.  I’m going to throw everything at it that I can, right now, and if there are consequences later, I’ll deal with those if and when the time comes.

But when you’re 10, and not the patient, you feel like you have no control.  That’s scarier, I think, than all the chemo and radiation and medications I had to deal with.  That was my coping tool – I did the therapy, I took the anti-nausea medications and the injections for boosting white blood cells each week after my first phase of chemo, knit, and watched a lot of cooking shows and Perry Mason reruns.

Once I was recovered enough from the mastectomy to start physical therapy, that’s when my daughter got some sense of control over the situation.  She appointed herself my home physical therapy coach, looking at the exercises my therapist had prescribed for me, and assigning the ones she wanted a report on when she got home from school.  It was something for her to do, and after that, the fear started to loosen its grip on her.  And about that time, she got the idea for a comic strip featuring crime-fighting mother-daughter super hero team.  An apparently ordinary mild-mannered mother whose super powers are only released once she begins radiation treatment for breast cancer – she then becomes the super hero Pink Steel, ably assisted by her apprentice and co-super hero, Rainbow Girl.

That was something else she could do.  She could use her imagination, and she could draw.  When you’re 10 years old, and your fear seems so much bigger than you, and you think can’t really do anything to protect yourself or your family from it – you daydream and imagine yourself kicking that fears butt, until even you believe you can actually do it.  Pretty smart, if you ask me.

So that’s how Pink Steel was born, and that’s what brings us to where we are today.

Because of the many men and women who have fought this disease before me, as patients, as researchers, as surgeons and oncologists, I am more than two years out from active treatment, and well into recovery.  Looking at me now, I probably look about the same as I did in January of 2013 – with the exception of my port scar, which other cancer patients, former patients and family members recognize on sight.  It’s like a school tie or a ring from a secret society.  Those who went to that school or belonged to that group recognize it immediately, and are allies and compatriots even before they know each other’s name.  I was at the GBM Heroes Dinner at Society for Neuro-Oncology Annual Meeting, and a brain cancer patient looked at me, pointed to my scar and asked “Are you one of us?”

You are one of us.  If you are a cancer patient, former patient, or family, you are one of us.  You wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t been touched, and touched most immediately, by cancer.

You are one of us, and your community needs your support. Walk, run, donate, or join a team.  Together, WE CAN.  I truly believe that supporting breast cancer research helps moves the technology forward for ALL cancers.

Thank you for listening.


Team Pink Steel

Our Team





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Our Supporters

  • Anonymous From Grandpa nd Grandma Hoffman May 2016 $20.00
  • Robert Nielsen May 2016 $30.00
  • Kenneth Hoffman With you 100% always!! May 2016 $100.00
  • Kenneth Hoffman With you 100% always!! May 2016 $100.00
  • Robert Nielsen May 2016 $30.00
  • Anonymous From Grandpa nd Grandma Hoffman May 2016 $20.00