My good dear friend Adnil Rasmussen died of stage four breast cancer in April 2013 after 4 long years fighting it. Adnil leaves behind her family, son Hans, daughter Natalie and husband James Bishop.
Days to Race345
Days to Race345
This page is dedicated to those who fought bravely and passed on, but have left a loving impression in our hearts. If you would like to remember a friend or loved one with a tribute, please submit a Tribute Form.
My good dear friend Adnil Rasmussen died of stage four breast cancer in April 2013 after 4 long years fighting it. Adnil leaves behind her family, son Hans, daughter Natalie and husband James Bishop.
Alice Witte was my high school track and field coach and an amazing mentor and friend. She was also an inspirational volleyball coach and “Play Like Crazy” was her personal mantra embraced by all of her athletes, no matter what sport she supported us in.Alice passed away from breast cancer in 1994. The gymnasium in the Homer High School is dedicated to her and named in her honor. As a survivor, I run this race in her memory and for her influence for us all to “play like crazy.”
This is my mother, Alicia Figueroa, who passed away this year. After a long battle with cancer she finally took off her oxygen mask and asked to go home and pointed to the sky. I am doing the walk for her and all those who have lost the battle. She was the bravest woman I know, and my life is so empty without her.
|I met Ann and Mara in a breast cancer support group in Portland in 2001. We became close friends in our battle with breast cancer. We shared laughs, dreams, and tears. Both Ann and Mara eventually succumbed to this deadly disease, but they left a lasting mark in my heart. Much of the work I do in oncology is a result of these and other incredible women I’ve met on this journey. Great advances are being made in detection and treatment and we are still losing too many. I run in our collective honor and with the hope of some day curing this disease.
My aunt Anna Ezzell was an awesome lady who was diagnosed with breast cancer, had a mastectomy, beat it and watched it return and finally it took her life on December 24, 2009. She was fighter until the end and chose to pass at home with her family rather than in a hospital bed alone.
My mom fought hard and passed away this past October 2013 from inflammatory breast cancer. She got to be a grandma for a short time to Briella Anne before she passed, and loved her children,her God, and her granddaughter more than anything.She gained another granddaughter 3 short months after she passed, and in memory of her we named her Emberlyn HOPE, as to keep the hope alive. We are missing MISSING her so much, but thankful she is now pain free and dancing with Jesus.
I will be running to honor many survivors; however, I lost my mother, Arlene Childers, to breast cancer when she was just 32 years old. My mom left behind my father, Ralph; myself aged 9; my sister Christine aged 7 and my baby sister Chelsea aged 10 months. My beautiful mother also lost her mother to breast cancer. Catherine McNamara was the biological grandmother I never met. It is 43 years later and still I mourn the loss of the mother I barely knew and who my own daughter never got to meet. I know breast cancer. I have seen its horrific face. We mustn’t rest until a cure is found.
|This is not the first tribute I’ve written about my mother, and it won’t be my last. My mother was just a young girl, around 5 as best we know, when her own mother passed after battling breast cancer. This would have been around 1942. My mother was orphaned and a few years later adopted by a loving, childless couple. Then in 1961 I was born, followed by my sister Christine in 1963 and then in 1969 mom was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant with my youngest sister, Chelsea. Chelsea was born in October 1969 and shortly after mom had a mastectomy. Just 10 months later, at the tender age of 32, my mother lost her courageous fight with breast cancer. I miss my mom every, single day. The empty spot never goes away. I am thankful for the understanding of my own daughter, who does this race with me every year. This year (2022) was Heidi’s 30th and she has participated in nearly every Run for Women. Together we remember my grandmother, her great-grandma; my mom, her grand-ma; and so many SURVIVORS who remind us of the importance of science and the gains we continue to make. Blessings on the family and friends left behind. Blessings on our beloved ones.
Beverly Englishbee died from breast cancer on June 18, 2007 at the age of 66. She left on this earth a legacy of love, which continues to grow in each life ever touched by her. Her room-brightening smile is missed, but once in a while, we see a glimpse of it in our dreams.
Charlene was an avid Alaskan fisherwoman, snow machine rider and all around great friend to those lucky enough to be in her orbit. Charlene was diagnosed early last summer with inflammatory breast cancer. She left us in January. I will forever be grateful for her friendship and generosity.
Cheryl was a devoted mother of two sons, and a proud member of the Osage and Kaw nations. She loved helping people and worked tirelessly for Indian Health Services’ diabetes and Head Start programs. She was a beautiful, caring, and radiant person who enjoyed thrift stores, vintage anything, and eating at Mexican restaurants. Gone far too soon.
My sister Christy was a talented and driven young woman. She played flute in Jr. High, High School and college, always made good grades, had lots of friends and earned her bachelor’s degree in education in Texas. After marriage she and her husband had two sons, the first (Bobby) was born with a severe heart defect and wasn’t expected to live for two or three months. He endured 4 or more heart surgeries throughout his early childhood. After the stress of constant medical attention for her son, a divorce and a long battle with depression and Bipolar Disorder, Christy took her own life on July 26th, 1993. Bobby out-lived his mother by several years before his heart finally gave out at age sixteen. Her second son Mike (now an adult) lives in Michigan battling Bipolar Disorder himself.
|Diane is my mother-in-love who fought hard with breast cancer for 13 years. In that final year my husband was deployed and got a call that his mom didn’t have long. The Army got him home in 2-3 days to say his goodbyes. It was in my husband’s arms she took her last breath. So every year myself and my girls (her granddaughters) run for her.
September 4, 1949 to February 28, 2013 – My mother, Denise, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 at 59. After a long, hard battle, she passed away at home with her family at her side on February 28, 2013. This will be my first walk and will be very emotional for me. I will have great friends at my side supporting me and running and/or walking in her memory. My mother was an amazing woman. She was so full of life and knew how to have fun. She is survived by her husband and high school sweetheart of 46 years Tom Brune, her son Ken Brune, daughter Lisa Brune, and her 3 grandsons, Joshua Campbell, Kevin Brune and Ryan Brune. I am proud to be doing this walk in her memory and in support of breast cancer awareness. My mother is with me in my heart and thoughts every day and is deeply missed by all who were fortunate enough to have met her. She lived her life to the fullest and didn’t let cancer ruin that!
Mom…you are loved, missed and will always and forever be remembered and remain in our hearts!
My Mom was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in December of 1974 at the age of 42. Almost unheard of at that time and certainly with a stigma of shame or embarrassment about having it, breast cancer and screenings were not topics of discussion or on the radar of women’s health. My Mom talked about it to break the silence and help advance women’s health issues. She fought a hard fight for 6 years leading by example as a strong and loving woman in her roles as mother, wife, sister and friend.
I feel her love and energy with every Alaska Run for Women supporting those that are in the fight, celebrating those that have beat it, remembering those that are no longer fighting and with the greatest of hope finding any issues as early as possible through awareness and screening.
November 28, 1917 to October 15, 2010 – This year, I will be walking in honor of many, but one in particular will be for my great-grandmother, Gladys Davis, of Ahoskie, North Carolina. “Grandma Davis” was, by far, one of the strongest, most independent, selfless, and loving women that I’ve ever known. Along with her full heart, and positive attitude, she was probably known best for her cooking. She loved to cook — and boy, could she! Even at the age of 93, she was always working hard in the kitchen, making sure that everything was perfect, and that everyone was happy. I will forever remember and cherish all of the family gatherings that we had in her home …and, of course, her chicken pot pie (dumplings)! Gladys Davis died in October of 2010, of natural causes. She had nine children, and survived and left behind many of them. She also left behind countless grandchildren, and great-grandchildren …as well as, many, many people who loved and cherished her deeply. I am also expecting my first, and will be walking with what would have been her great-great-grandchild. I cannot wait to tell my son all about her!
Gladys was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 at the age of 53, passing October 23, 2007. Gladys was the heart of MEA, for 38 years she used her voice to find solutions for customer’s problems quickly. Her demeanor was bubbly and always warm and caring. A lifelong Palmer resident she was a member of the Palmer Elks, the Moose and involved with Valley Alzheimer’s, Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days. Gladys was a very special person, greatly missed by her many friends and acquaintances. Today we honor her memory and provide remembrance to all that she was to us.
In the 2011 Run for Women, I am recognizing my dear friend Janelle Cowan who passed away six years ago of breast cancer, after battling for 12 years. The photo is of Janelle on the left and her friends Susan and Linda enjoying a weekend on the Kenai River shortly before she passed away.
Following a courageous 19-month battle with glioblastoma, Jay passed away in September, 2018 at age 63. He was a dedicated long-time Alaska Run for Women board member and volunteer who spent countless hours contributing to the event’s success. He created the annual RFW raffle which regularly raised $50,000 a year to benefit the grant program. He lost his mother, Marguerite, and sister-in-law, Susie, to breast cancer and was passionate about the fight against the disease. I, along with our daughter Amy and granddaughters, Grace and Caroline, are grateful for the incredible love and memories we shared with Jay. He will forever be in our hearts, and we will continue to honor his legacy each year with an Alaska Run for Women team. Go Jazzy Jaywalkers!
Jennifer Jones is the daughter of our life time friends, George and Funa Hornberger. After Funa had been treated for breast cancer, her first born daughter was diagnosed. Jen was in her early thirties, a college graduate and school teacher, and a loving wife and mother. She was an artist and especially enjoyed beading. One of her projects is a beaded quilt that was made by Jen and her family and friends, and now hangs in the Providence Oncology unit. Jen was raised with traditional Alaskan values and ensured that these and Christian values were passed onto her children. One of the more amazing things about Jen was the way she was able to rise to the emotional challenge of dying with grace and love. A few summers ago, Jen and her children, Funa, a friend and I gaily walked the race together in pink party hats and shirts.
My mother discovered advanced breast cancer in 1977. I was 17 years old. She was not expected to live long, and in those days doctors were all men and awkward about discussing surgery. My mother’s response was, “stop pussy footing around and take my breast – I have three teenagers to raise and get through college – I can’t be doing with this!” After a radical mastectomy, aggressive radiation and a long recovery, my mother had a recurrence when I was in college. On a year abroad at that time, and after another mastectomy and debilitating chemo, my mother trekked to Macchu Picchu with me to celebrate my 21st birthday. It happened again in the 1990s – lymph nodes out this time and a skin transplant because she had no good skin left after the radiation – they had not expected her to live to need it any more. My mother died last year of heart failure at 89. She was a warrior and an inspiration to me – always brave, and always there for me no matter what. I miss her terribly.
Jessica was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25. Her photo was on the front page of the ADN in 2010, bald and smiling. Her blog was called “kicking cancer’s ass”. We showed up on race day in pink tutus and walked one mile. (The year before Jess and I had run five miles). Since her diagnoses, Jess completed a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology, worked in an eating disorders clinic, obtained her license as a professional counselor, sustained two pregnancies resulting in Emrie and Brielle, and established a thriving clinical practice in Anchorage. She saw clients until three months before she died, in 2020.
After many years as a Catholic nun, Joan was hired as secretary of the Anthropology Department at University of Wisconsin Madison, where we met. She took me and my 10-year-old (at that time) daughter under her wing and introduced us to Madison, where we spent the next two years as I worked on my graduate degree. Joan was diagnosed with breast cancer before I went off for summer field work after my second year, and was gone when I returned. She was a kind, helpful, and fun friend, and is much missed.
|My sister Joyce Died Of Breast Cancer On June 13 , 1997 ; Age 44 yrs Young.
She fought courageously for over 2 years with Stage Four Breast Cancer . She was Always so Beautiful Inside and Outside.
Joyce was born in the Territory Of Alaska on Kodiak Island July 16, 1952.She was the First Woman PileBuck (building bridges) in the state of Alaska.
Joyce also worked hard to change laws to allow her to access her monies tied up by state bureaucracies .
She was an Incredible, Amazing, Hardworking, and A Beautiful Woman Inside and Outside .
Kalei was diagnosed with lung cancer in September 2013 and died on April 25, 2014. Kalei touched us all with her fine-tuned sense of humor, her Aloha Spirit of Hawaii, her flair for holiday decorating and cooking, her unwavering positivity, and the huge smile she always greeted everyone with. She was an absolute joy to have as a co-worker and friend.
We miss her dearly.
January 3, 1956 to March 21, 2010 – Karen had a mammogram in June of 2009 and was told it was normal. In September she felt something in her left breast, the doctor told her it was just cartilage. In October she got a cough and had trouble breathing; they gave her breathing treatments with an O2 level in the 80’s. She was admitted in the hospital for pneumonia. A few days later a test showed she had metastatic breast cancer; it had spread to her lungs. She was in the hospital for quite some time and in March an MRI showed the cancer had spread to her brain. From diagnoses to our loss… 6 months. She is missed by so many: Her family, her friends, her mom, Lynn Hobson (a breast cancer survivor) and all those who ever came in contact with her. She was the most wonderful person one could ever know. Her smile and personality would light up a room, and she could make everyone feel welcome.
January 16, 1957 to March 7, 2011 – My mother, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2010 and lost her battle March 7, 2011. She left behind a son and daughter ages 26 and 22. Her son Michael, and mother Helen, were at her bedside at the hospital, but I was in Hawaii on vacation with family. Her passing was so shocking and unexpected but Karen was a fighter, a loving mother, sister, daughter, and friend. She is remembered every single day by her family and missed dearly. My life is so empty without her, but by participating in the Alaska Run for Women I can honor her memory. RIP 3/7/11 – I love you Mom. As her daughter, I am deeply saddened by the loss of my mother and that I wasn’t there when she passed to give her a real goodbye, but someone once told me “Goodbye means forever, that’s why you didn’t get to say it.” Until we meet again, Mom Xoxo
My sweet Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 57. She passed on only a few months later. This year marks the 20th year since she passed on. Her absence is felt continually by all of us who loved her dearly. So many of life’s joys are a little less sweet because she is not there by our side to enjoy them with us. And life’s sorrows are harsher without her there to comfort us. I miss you, Mom. So it seems only fitting that I, now 57 myself, walk in your memory. Hope you are watching! Love you, Mom!
My Grandmother died before I was born. She had breast cancer at 72, had a mastectomy then found cancer in the other breast and died at 74. My Mom found breast cancer at 57, underwent mastectomy, radiation 19 Cobalt treatment. They found a spot again at 90, treated with Tomoxifin because of her age and heart condition. She lived to 100! My niece Michelle was diagnosed around age 40, double mastectomy, radiation therapy and died at age 46. I never knew my Grandma Bentley, but her resilience lived on in my Mom and niece. Each of these women impacted my life in the way they continued to be faithful to God and the life He gave them.
My daughter and I will be participating in our first Alaska Run for Women in honor of Lorena Frost. She lost her year-and-a-half long battle with triple negative breast cancer on June 5, 2010. She was an awesome wife, mother of 4 daughters, grandmother of 2 girls, and a friend to many. Her transparent faith in the Lord she knew so well allowed her to make a significant difference in her short life. Her legacy lives on through her family and in the many people whose lives she touched.
I would like to take a moment to remember my Grandmother Lucille Brossia. Grandma Lucy lost her battle with breast cancer on Mother’s Day, May 14, 2000. I will always miss her singing hymnals and baking her famous coffee cake. This run is for you grandma.
My grandmother was wonderful and a very private person. She had a radical mastectomy in 1953 and a second mastectomy in 1963 from which she did not survive. I am lucky to have many good memories of her. My favorite memories are from all the times she read to me.
My mom was a 15-year breast cancer survivor when she was diagnosed with a recurrence. She participated in the June 2006 Alaska Run for Women (in her wheelchair) and passed away in September 2006. She left 8 children and many many grandchildren and great-grandchildren who miss her fun-loving spirit and great sense of humor.
Marjean Dunaway passed away Oct. 30, 2006. She participated in every Alaska Run for Women event except the first year. Each year she was recognizable by wearing bib number 1. That bib has now been retired. Roland Gower, MD said, “One of my most inspiring patients EVER! Always present on race day to encourage and brighten everyone’s day.”
Mary left us on June 12, 2018 after a long battle with metastatic breast cancer. She faced cancer with strength, courage, dignity and grace which was an inspiration to all who knew her. She was the love of my life and she will never be forgotten.
April 6, 1964 to November 1, 2007
In loving memory of my Aunt Michele!
Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31 and passed away at 35 years of age. Her son was just approaching his first birthday when she was diagnosed and her daughter was five. She was a fighter all the way and we dearly miss her laughter and friendship.
My best friend Michelle Hutchins fought a brave battle of breast cancer for 16 years. On September 12, 2012 my life changed forever when she lost that battle. A huge part of me died when she did but I still hear in my head what she would want me to do. I will continue the fight for her! I will walk in her honor. I would walk forever just to bring her back! Knowing that is impossible I will not only walk in her memory but for those who have known the love of a true friendship, for those who struggle with their own battle and for those who have yet to fight their battle. For all of the Mothers, Daughters, Sisters and Friends out there, Michelle was the most awesome person I have ever known. The world was a much brighter place with her in it. I pray that someday we will find a cure so no one will have to suffer such a huge loss in their lives. Rest in peace Michelle! You will live in my heart forever!
My mother Norma Jean fought and beat breast cancer. It came back and she succumbed in 2020. She loved and cherished family and culture and a good laugh too. She’s the best story teller I’ve ever known. Her heart reached many, loved by all, and she is dearly missed.
Love you mom
My daughter and I are excited to do the Run for Women for the first time this year in memory of my mother, Pamela. Misdiagnosed initially, she eventually fought an 8-year battle with breast cancer before passing away at age 39. She is greatly missed by her children who lost her too soon. We hope with awareness and early detection, more mothers will be saved.
Sally was like a second mother to me. She was a loving and devoted mother, wife, and grandma. Her smile could light up any room that she walked into. She helped her husband run their family business for years. She was an amazing cook and she loved to dance. She had beaten breast cancer but unfortunately lung cancer took her life. Though she is gone, she will never be forgotten.
My cousin Sara Sullivan was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 28 in February 2009 and died on September 22, 2009, just a few days short of her 29th birthday. She left behind a loving husband Brady who is a fighter pilot in the US Air Force and a darling daughter who was born weeks before her mom passed. Sara was the most positive person I know and she knew that she would be in a better place once her journey was over. She is missed by so many people as she made such an impact on so many lives.
For many years Sharon Yerbich thought she had beat breast cancer, but sadly it returned. She fought hard with metastatic cancer, but lost her battle on March 1, 2007. Sharon was a founding member of Alaska Breast Cancer Advocacy Partners (ABCAP) in 1999 and frequently traveled to Washington D.C. to advocate for research dollars to find a cure. Sharon was a frequent attendee at many breast cancer events and support activities in Anchorage.
My friend Shirli Green died on June 16, 2013 at the age of 39. Shir, her parents, her husband, her beautiful daughter Mia, and her friends did the Alaska Run for Women every year for at least 3 years together. Last year was too hard, because Shir was on hospice, and we couldn’t bear to do it without her. This year, we will do this in her memory. Signing on and registering was harder than I ever thought it would be, and losing a friend like Shir has been heartbreaking. I have so many pictures of her, even when she was too weak to walk and we took turns pushing her in a wheelchair (always the 5 mile), where she insisted on standing and walking through the finish line. Shir was a “walk through the finish line” kind of woman. Her absence in the life of so many people is a gaping hole that will never be filled. On the day of the Women’s Run, Shir will be with us in spirit on “Team Shir”.
My sister, Susie, was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 35 and lost her battle at age 39. She left behind a husband and 2 daughters, ages 12 and 16. She’s been gone since 1996 and we continue to miss her dearly.
Participating in the Alaska Run for Women is one way that we honor her memory.
Suzy Hyde, age 46, received her angel wings on Dec. 21, 2015, in Anchorage, Alaska, after a long, courageous battle with cancer. She was a true fighter earning the title of “Cancer Ninja.” Suzy left this earth surrounded by her family and her “little old man”, Sully Dog. Suzy loved life and touched many. Her spunky personality, beautiful smile and generous spirit made Suzy the spark in every room. Suzy’s infectious laughter and take charge attitude touched family and friends around the globe. Her family and friends are pretty sure that upon arrival in heaven, Suzy began redecorating her surroundings.
Suzy loved spending time with family, cooking wonderful dinners, fishing, playing hockey and watching her daughter, Allison play soccer. She chaperoned many of her baby girl’s out of state soccer trips, assuring that all players had a home cooked meal and a laugh. She enjoyed spending time at the Cannery Lodge, where she and her husband, Ron created their own little piece of paradise on the banks of the Kenai River. Suzy had fun teaching her daughter, Cenah how to power shop, dress with style and display a confident “type A” attitude.
Suzy was a strong woman with great warrior spirt. When Suzy was at her weakest, she continued to support her family by assuring that the cookies were baked and sandwiches were prepared for school. Suzy was selfless. Suzy’s passing has left a hole in many hearts, but she leaves the world a better place as she brought us all laughter, passion, enthusiasm and genuine love.
Suzy wrote and would want everyone to know, “I am not a survivor or a victim. I am a thriver and a victim of nothing. Preparation and timing are essential to living a long life. Nothing happens for a reason. Things happen and you get to choose how to handle the situation. Are you going to lay down and give up? Are you going to be a miserable victim? Are you going to face the facts and fight and endure? Your choice. These are the things I think of every day.”
Vanessa Villacrusis, nicknamed “Ness” by her family and friends, passed away, at age 38, on May 29, 2016, after battling Breast Cancer for 9 years. Vanessa was my “bestie”. She loved spending time with her family, traveling and hiking, but most of all, her world revolved around her beautiful children, Skyler & Brian. Vanessa was loved and respected by so many and will always be remembered for her bright smile, selfless attitude and fighting spirit. She is missed more than words could say.