116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Breast cancer survivor supports other local women at Mercy Especially For You Race
Miranda Neff walked the Especially For You Race Against Breast Cancer 5k for the first time when she was 14. Eleven years later, when she was 25, she walked it for the first time as a breast cancer survivor.
“It was really special. I feel like it was always a nonprofit that I could get behind and support because it supports local women. And then when you become that local woman, you realize this really is as good as you feel like it is, doing the walk every year,” Neff said.
Since being diagnosed in 2019 with stage three cancer Neff has connected with a large community of breast cancer survivors in the area. She said she’s seen more and more young people being diagnosed, and always encourages women of any age to do their regular breast cancer checks.
Neff said she loves seeing the community support each year at the Especially For You, or EFY, race.
The race is put on by Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids each year, and money raised from race registration goes into a fund that’s used to help women in need pay for mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies and other breast-care and gynecological cancer screenings and services.
This year, on Oct. 9, the race was put on for the 32nd time. It was started in 1991 in memory of Sandy Knight, who died from breast cancer earlier that year. Knight had co-founded Mercy’s Especially For You After Breast Cancer Support Group after she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.
Before Knight died, she had wanted to establish a race to raise funds for breast cancer awareness and education. Knight’s sister, Cindy Young, approached General Mills, where Knight had worked, and Mercy to see if they could get the race started.
The first year of the race, organizers only expected about 500 people, but more than 1,000 showed up, according to race director Jeff Decker. The numbers have only grown since then, with more than 15,000 people participating in this year’s race.
Neff and her team of 28 others were among this year’s participants. The team, named Team Megan and Miranda, consists of family members and friends of Neff and her friend Megan Post, another young woman who Neff met while going through cancer treatments.
Neff has been cancer-free for three years now, though it’ll be another year and a half before she’s officially considered cured. She was diagnosed in January 2019 and finished her treatment, part of which was paid for with the EFY fund, in September of that year, just in time for the EFY race.
“I walked. But, that first one, it’s just really special after being a survivor,” Neff said. “I think what’s special about doing the race each year, especially after becoming a survivor, is you feel the magic. I know that seems kind of strange, but it’s the community magic.”
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