By Bob Allen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They are the stars of the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure: 1,500 breast cancer survivors celebrating life.

They walked arm-in-arm in the survivors parade – singing, dancing, smiling and crying.

Nearly 20,000 people flocked to Schenley Park on Sunday to celebrate 25 years of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

“I get really emotional every year,” survivor Patty Balish said. “It’s just a blessing to be here.”

“Very emotional,” survivor Kathy Schor said. “I wish everybody that has breast cancer good luck. It’s very important to get mammograms, get it early.”

While they feel blessed, survivors have advised women to get a mammogram.

“I missed one year, and the next year I went, I found out I had breast cancer by missing one year,” survivor Kathy Gregory saiad. “Don’t skip. Get them.”

“Know your body,” survivor Marva Farris said. “A woman should know her body, and that’s how I detected my own cancer, by knowing my body.”

This is the 25th anniversary of Susan G. Komen Pittsburgh. Pat Siger is one of the three co-founders.

“We’re just honored,” she said. “We’re just honored to be a part of something that’s helped thousands of women. We’re in 34 counties.”

Today, early diagnosis can give a woman a 99 percent chance of survival over five years. Millions of dollars have been raised for breast cancer research and awareness.

Co-founder Laurie Moser says treatment is advancing.

“Used to be just slash and burn. You have a mastectomy, the terrible chemo…” she said. “There are treatments that are softer and more gentle now. They’re working on icing your hair after treatment so it doesn’t fall out.”

Co-founder Eileen Lane says they still have a long way to go to reach the ultimate goal.

“I think everybody is more determined that we really conquer this disease so no one has to suffer,” she said, “and that no family has to go through it.”

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