TEC member inspired to Race for the Cure

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Mavi Smith
  • The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center
A member of The I.G. Brown Air National Guard Training and Education Center here joined about 900 breast cancer survivors and more than 15,000 supporters Saturday, Oct. 30, at World's Fair Park in Knoxville for the city's 14th Annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Like many others at the event, Jessica M. Wolbert, a human resources technician at the TEC, was there to support a loved one in the fight against breast cancer.

"I came out to run for a very close friend of mine who is in the South Dakota Air National Guard," said Wolbert.

Her friend's mother was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, one of the most deadly categories of the disease.

"This has really affected her family and they are struggling with it," said Wolbert. "Since I'm so far away, I wanted to do my part to help."

Wolbert said participating in the race was the perfect opportunity to accomplish that.

Wolbert, who is also a Staff Sergeant with the 134th Air Refueling Wing here, ran the 5K race with McKenna, one of her five sisters.

Together, they raised $700 for the Knoxville Affiliate of the foundation, which will go toward breast health education, awareness and research programs.

Another sister and fellow member of the 134th ARW, Airman 1st Class Briana Lindquist, who was at Basic Military Training at the time, also helped.

"We sent her one of our fundraising flyers," said Wolbert. "She shared it with the girls in her flight and they raised about $200 to support the cause."

Wolbert said she found the event, which started at World's Fair Park and wound through downtown Knoxville, to be motivational.

"Everyone's attitudes were upbeat, everyone was excited," she said. "It was really neat to see the survivors, who were dressed in pink, and all the supporters. The smiles on their faces were inspirational."

Wolbert said she plans to get all of her sisters involved and make the Race for the Cure an annual event for her family.

She said, "We want to do it because we found it amazing to be a part of such a good cause, and we think that, together, we can make a difference."

Other TEC staff members who participated in the race were Staff Sgt. Chalanda D. Roberts and Gerry Barnes with the TEC-TV Branch.

The Race for the Cure foundation was created in 1982 by Nancy Brinker in memory of her sister Susan G. Komen. The non-profit corporation is one of the leading organizations in the fight against breast cancer. The money generated by the foundation goes toward local education and treatment funding as well as national and international awareness and research. Races, walks and events are held all around the country each year to show support to the survivors and raise awareness of the disease.