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The Kiss


Touch it. Experience it. Own it.

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IT'S the most common of celebratory rites at finish lines everywhere. From the stumbling winners of a three-legged race at a family picnic to the champagne-soaked variety at the Indy 500 to the diminutive jockey who needs a boost in order to reach the lips of a rosegarlanded mount at the Kentucky Derby, the kiss is a poignant moment in time that best captures the sheer exuberance of winning.

Last year’s SUSAN G. KOMEN NEBRASKA RACE FOR THE CURE featured over 19,000 winners who ran and walked to raise $900,000 in the event designed to promote positive awareness, education and early detection of breast cancer. The finish line was a sweaty, sneakerto- sneaker ocean of euphoric high fives, hugs and even kisses, but few scenes were more touching than the one captured in the photograph accompanying this story.

Lindy Rogers’ mother, SANDY AGNE, is an oncology nurse and avid runner who finished in the top three percent in last year’s race. She was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 10 years ago and is now cancer-free.

“Out of respect for her patients she had never adopted the pink t-shirt worn by runners who are cancer survivors,” Rogers said. “It’s hard to explain, but she didn’t want her patients to know she had breast cancer. She didn’t want to give them an opportunity to think that it was about anything but them and only them, especially on race day. She wanted them to own their cancer.”

Such acts of selflessness are the very epitome of the highest ideals of the nursing profession, but what about Agne? What about the caregiver’s chance to rejoice in the simplest of acts, that of wearing the pink?

“My mom is an amazing woman and she does this, this idea of owning her cancer, in so many other great ways,” Rogers said, “but on race day she always insisted on being invisible.”

Agne’s family confronted her that morning and explained it was time to do the same thing she demands of her patients. It was time to own her cancer on race day. “After all,” Rogers added, “what better tribute can there be for her patients than to join them?”

Mass confusion at the finish line, Rogers explained, separated the runners who crossed only about 30 seconds apart.

“And then I heard it,” Rogers said as she now fought back tears. “I was searching for my mom and I heard a woman shout, ‘Here she comes! Here comes another pink t-shirt!’”

Just as in the Paul Harvey commentaries of old, readers can already guess “the rest of the story,” the identity of the runner who now owns the pink, and the tender set-up for an unforgettable tableau that is “the kiss.”

The 18th annual Susan G. Komen Nebraska Race for the Cure is Sunday, October 2nd at Qwest Center Omaha. Up to 75 percent of the funds raised remain here in the Komen Nebraska Affiliate to provide breast health research, diagnostics, screening, treatment, services and education for uninsured or underinsured women and the remainder goes to fund national research.

Visit www.komennebraska.org to donate, register and for more information.

-end- metroMAGAZINE




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