Here's how he's fighting against breast cancer


Miguel Perez lost his sister to breast cancer, and now he's working so that others don't have to. He's the regional vice president for Komen Race for the Cure, and oversees races like the upcoming one in Columbus-the second-largest Komen 5K in the country. We talked with Perez about his role in the fight and why it's important to get involved. To sign up for the May 18 race, visit KomenColumbus.org.

–Heather Weekley, @heather_weekley

Your sister battled breast cancer. Is this how you became involved with Komen?

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991. I needed to do something and I started getting involved with Komen Columbus. My sister battled for 11 years and passed away in 2002. Since I started volunteering early on, I kept ramping it up and doing more. I was on several committees, and I became president of the board in Columbus for three years. We worked hard to build the infrastructure and have public growth. We were able to raise more money and grant our more money and turn our race into one of the biggest races in the country. As a volunteer and a good friend to the affiliate here, every year I build a team in honor of my sister, and I get about 1000 people every race. I have 929 people on my team this year. It's awesome to see the number of people who will join the fight with you.

What does your job as regional vice president entail?

I joined Komen in this position in December 2012. They really started to look into how we can rebuild relationships and refocus. I believe in this organization. We are still the organization that is leading this global fight against the disease that took my sister's life. Komen headquarters is based in Dallas. We have 119 affiliates and seven regions across the country and I oversee two of the regions.

In light of recent events at Boston, are there any different precautions that Komen will be taking for the Columbus race?

The weekend after Boston, a few of the affiliates had races. There was a lot of attention around security, but there were no issues. All the races since then have been very focused on security and had some very positive response for people showing up.

Why should we get involved with Race for the Cure?

One in 8 women will be diagnosed with this disease. We are under the false perception that everyone knows about it. Race for the Cure, besides being a huge support group, is also an incredible opportunity to become educated and aware. To learn more and to talk more to people and to be a part of moving this global movement forward, we need to be working and fighting for it. The Race for the Cure has become so big that we can't just calm down. We still don't have a cure and that's what we are working on. Registering, showing up and participating, that's what makes a difference.