How Team WRAL Raced for a Cure

Jodi Glusco

WRAL.com Director of Content Jodi Glusco snaps photos at the 2016 Triangle Komen Race for the Cure. The event particularly impacted her because she is herself a recent breast cancer survivor. (Photo courtesy of WRAL-TV’s Steve Hammel.)

A number of CBC employees, their family and friends ran or walked the 2016 Triangle Komen Race for the Cure with Team WRAL on Saturday, June 11.  The venue moved to the Frontier in RTP, but CBC’ers remained steadfast in their support.

The devotion of these staffers to the Race and its cause is proof positive of why WRAL-TV remains committed to this important event each year.

The Heart of Team WRAL
WRAL-TV Creative Director Shelly Leslie worked in the WRAL tent alongside several of her colleagues.  WRAL-TV Promotion & Event Coordinator Debbie Tullos serves as the Team WRAL captain, chief cheerleader and talent liaison each year.  This year she wrangled WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporters Ken Smith, Lynda Loveland and Gerald Owens, along with WRAL-TV Meteorologist Mike Maze.  Fellow Creative Services staffers WRAL-TV Social Media Manager Wendy Gatlin and WRAL-TV Lead Designer/Print & Online Bill Burch joined the crew in the tent.

Leslie had high praise for her team.

“Debbie and Bill do such a great job for WRAL at that (and all the other!) events we do,” said Leslie.  “We gave away thousands of WRAL/NBC Olympics branded cowbells and pink phone wallets. They were a huge hit!”

Shelly Leslie & Wendy Gatlin

WRAL-TV’s Shelly Leslie (left) & Wendy Gatlin represent in the WRAL tent at the 2016 Triangle Race for the Cure on Saturday, June 11. (Photo by Jodi Glusco)

WRAL had a special perk for being a registered, official member of their team:  special cooling sleeves.

That’s how Leslie fought the extreme, almost record-breaking heat.

“I used the Team WRAL cooling sleeves iced down! (Didn’t get any of those? Gotta join the team!!),” she said.

Owens and Maze did not mind the heat, as the pair have special reasons to participate each year.

“I can’t say enough about how amazing Gerald and Mike were on stage as emcees of the survivor ceremony,” she continued.  “This is a deeply personal event for both of them. They give of themselves in such a powerful way. When Mike called his Mom, who is a 12 year survivor, out of the crowd to acknowledge her, there wasn’t a dry eye anywhere!”

Sadly, Owens lost his mother to breast cancer.  He remains dedicated to the Race for the Cure each year in her memory.

A WRAL Survivor
WRAL.com Director of Content Jodi Glusco also pitched in as part of Team WRAL, taking photos for our award-winning website.  However, she has a personal reason that made the event particularly meaningful for her.  She shared her story with Capcom:

Jodi Glusco

WRAL.com’s Jodi Glusco (right) listens as her colleagues Mike Maze and Gerald Owens honor survivors including her. (Photo by WRAL-TV’s Shelly Leslie)

While I have supported breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation since I was in college – it just seemed like the right thing to do — the 2016 Triangle Race for the Cure was my second as a “survivor.”

I’ve long been aware of the good that Komen does, and a 5K race is accessible, even for a non-runner like me.

In June 2014, I walked the Raleigh race with my mom, a breast cancer survivor herself. In October of that year, I got my own diagnosis: a tumor the size of a pea would prompt surgery and 35 days of radiation treatment.

At least year’s race, I was in the front of the line — survivors of under 1 year. I was so grateful to wear the pink T-shirt and selfishly focused on regaining my strength and returning to life as normal.

In year 2, I was able to look outside myself, at the hundreds of (mostly) women around me – survivors of 10, 20, 50(!) years. All faced down a foe that, just a generation ago, was a death sentence. All danced across a hot field Saturday in a celebration of life.

There were songs of triumph, rows of hands reaching out for a high five and an incredible feeling of belonging. It was pure elation!

Then, before the recreational race, I assumed my position near the starting line, prepared to take photographs for WRAL.com. And the announcer explained what we were about to see: a flyover of vintage military aircraft by the Bandit Flying Team, in the “missing man” formation. It’s a military standard honor when a team has lost a member. The formation proceeds, with a gap that is never filled.

It was only then that I traded joy for sorrow. I stood in the street and cried for those lost. I thought of the friend, my same age, who was a support to me while fighting a losing battle of her own.

I expect to be back out there next June, wherever the Komen North Carolina Triangle to Coast decides to hold the race, and for as many years as necessary because I believe, through fundraising and research done right here in the Triangle, we will turn breast cancer into a minor inconvenience and the number of survivors marching will only grow and grow.

2016 Race for the Cure

Over 8,000 participants registered for the 2016 Triangle Komen Race for the Cure on Saturday, June 11. WRAL proudly sponsored the event. (Photo by Jodi Glusco)

Faring at The Frontier
Over 8,000 participants registered for the event, which moved from Meredith College to RTP due to construction on Hillsborough Street.  Overall reaction to the new venue was positive.

“There’s a few tweaks Komen will make next year now that they’ve done it once in that location,” said Leslie.  “That location can accommodate a lot more people so hopefully the event will grow because of the move.”

More Stories to Come
Several other CBC’ers spoke to Capcom about their experience at the 2016 Triangle Komen Race for the Cure.  Stay tuned to Capcom this week for more from those who walked to honor survivors, remember those who lost their fight, to show solidarity and to celebrate new beginnings.  And to hear from another WRAL staffer who is a survivor.

Thanks to WRAL.com’s Jodi Glusco, WRAL-TV’s Shelly Leslie, Gerald Owens and Steve Hammel for these capcom photos.

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