After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, Race in the Park was back in person in New Britain on Saturday.
Thousands of people packed the streets at Walnut Hill Park. It was clear it wasn't just a race, but it's also a mission.
It's all about bringing people together to raise money to advance breast cancer research and education initiatives in Connecticut.
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"The whole community looks forward to this and we get people from all over the state and especially because it’s Mother’s Day weekend, but to have the survivors once again together, it’s awesome and I know they’re happy," said Joyce Bray, of the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative.
For nearly two decades, the annual Mother's Day weekend event has raised more than $4.2 million and 105 grants have been provided for research and education initiatives with 100 percent of the money raised staying right here in Connecticut.
"Some of them have brought their co-survivors who are their husbands and best friends so it’s happy and it’s a celebration of life," Bray added.
"Just the energy and the love and the hope, you know, I can’t even explain...they make me want to be a better person," said Mary Gotlibowski, of New Britain.
Gotlibowski has been a cancer survivor for over a decade, but said the fight still continues.
"I was diagnosed April 17th, 2010, had to have a bilateral mastectomy, had reconstruction and by the grace of God, I am cancer free 12 years," she said.
"I walk for all the women and the men that have come before me and will come after me," she added.
The rate of female breast cancer in Connecticut's population is the second highest in the U.S.
NBC Connecticut is a proud sponsor for Race in the Park.