Kris Dewell was well aware breast cancer ran in her family.
Her grandmother had it, and the disease took her life well before Dewell was born.
Twice her mother, Marguerite Flick, was diagnosed — the first time at 50 years old, then at 60.
Needless to say, Dewell knew with the family history, she, too, might be diagnosed with cancer as well at some time. That time came in 2000 when a small lump was found during a mammogram. She was 50.
The fortunate part was the cancer was discovered early. Dewell previously had been going in for a mammogram in Hays since she was 35.
“I was really lucky because they found it really early,” Dewell said. “It wasn’t really life-threatening, and I guess I feel like I am a testament to getting a mammogram every year because really the goal and more important is getting people to get it done early enough so they don’t have to go through a lot of serious illness to recover. The earlier the better.”
On Saturday, Dewell, a 17-year survivor of breast cancer, will take part in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure at Municipal Park in Hays. Dewell will serve as the honorary chairwoman to the event and will have the opportunity to share her story with the audience.
It marks the fifth year the race will be in Hays. Dewell has been a participant each year. If she chooses this year, she can ride in the pace car.
Registration and the Survivor Breakfast will start at 7 a.m. The race will be at 7:45, followed by a Survivor Celebration, then the Midwest Energy Mile Family Walk will complete the event.
“We’re hoping Saturday’s weather will give us a larger turnout and we’ll have a bunch of people decide to come down and register for the race and participate with us,” said Jennifer Teget, Komen chairwoman of the Hays area.
Dewell, a realtor in Hays, has been an advocate in the fight against cancer for years, well before she was diagnosed. One way she has done that is by getting a yearly check-up.
The Susan G. Komen Foundation has been a special part of the fight for her. Serving on committees has been a contribution Dewell takes pride in being a part of helping.
“This is why I am so adamant about Susan G. Komen because they do spend so much money trying to find a cure for (cancer) and also providing mammograms to people who can’t afford it,” Dewell said. “I’m sure there’a a lot of people out there who can’t.”
Individuals wanting to participate Saturday can pre-register from 1 to 6 p.m. Friday in front of Hays Aquatic Park, 300 Main, or they can do it before the race.
Of the net proceeds raised through the race, 75 percent stay in the community to help fund programs dealing with cancer services and information. The other 25 percent of proceeds goes toward Komen’s national research.
Last year’s event drew 483 registrations, Teget said.