1,000 inmates walk to fund breast cancer research

About 1,000 inmates at Northern Nevada prisons participated in the Race for the Cure Sunday, raising more than $15,000 to help fund breast cancer research.

Inmates walked at the Stewart Conservation Camp, Northern Nevada Correctional Center, Warm Springs Correctional Center, Nevada State Prison, Silver Springs Conservation Camp and Lovelock Correctional Center.

"I lost both my grandparents to cancer," said Dwayne Allred, an inmate who participated at the Stewart Conservation Camp. "Now my wife, mother, mother-in-law and daughter are all at risk of getting breast cancer." Allred raised about $115 for cancer research.

Winning the race at the Stewart Camp was Joe Sims, who lost his mother, Linda Norma, to cancer. Inmates Dan Troxell and Robert Disney were thinking of Troxell's sister, Breezy, who died of breast cancer eight months ago.

"She was only 34, man," Troxell said.

The institution with the largest number of participants was the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, with 400 foot racers and about 50 in wheelchairs.

Inmates enjoyed an arch of pink balloons, four inmate bands and cake in new Race for the Cure T-shirts.

"These are the only non-prison-issue clothes they are allowed to have," said Pat McGaffin, a case worker with the Department of Corrections and coordinator of Race for the Cure for all the Northern Nevada Prisons.

McGaffin was inspired to get prisons involved after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996. She has organized races at NNCC for five years. The Warm Springs facility and Nevada State Prison have each participated for two years.

"I wanted to get the men involved so they could give back," said the 10-year corrections counselor.

All money raised goes to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, which has put on races for 20 years. The Race for the Cure has grown from one race with 800 participants in Dallas to more than 100 races involving 1.5 million people.

From the $10,800 raised by inmates last year, the Komen foundation gave $8,500 to Carson-Tahoe Hospital to support women going through radiation treatment, McGaffin said.

The race grows every year.

"Folsom Prison contacted me last year," McGaffin said. "They want to do a competition." High Sierra and Southern Desert correction centers in Las Vegas are also planning races.

"Pat is the workhorse behind this whole program," said NNCC Warden Don Helling. "She works extremely hard, and the inmates support her. The NNCC staff supports her, too. Without all three of these coming together, it wouldn't happen."

About 80 inmates and some staff walked in the race at the Warm Springs facility, raising $1,400, according to charge nurse Cheryl Dressler.

"We raised about $800 last year so it went up quite a bit," she said.

"It's turned into a pretty big event," said caseworker Shannon Moyle. "Next year, we'll have balloons and bands."

On The Net

For more information on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, go to www.komen.org/race/.


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