9 Who Care: Cindy Young

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) Cindy Young wears a little pink everywhere she goes.

"Pink is the color for breast cancer awareness," she said.

With bright painted fingernails, she leads a committee meeting for the Especially for You Race Against Breast Cancer, held in Cedar Rapids each year. This October will be the 29th annual event.
Each one done in honor of Young's sister, Sandy Knight.

"She was instrumental in organizing the after cancer support group, which is called Especially For You. And it's still in existence today."

Her sister wanted every woman to have access to cancer screenings and support groups, regardless of income. Sandy knew firsthand how difficult the process is. She first spotted her own cancer.

“She actually found a lump herself and then went and saw the doctor. She found out it was Stage Four.”

Knight died roughly two years later, at just age 39. Months later, Young kicked off the first race.

She had some help from Mercy Medical, where her sister received treatment, and General Mills,where her sister worked.

In its nearly 30 years, Young has grown to expect about 15,000 runners and walkers each year.

The race usually brings in about $450,000 in donations each year.

And money from this goes to her cause: Free mammograms, screenings and counseling services.

“If you stand on that stage and you see whatever color the shirt is that year last year it was heather coral, and you see that sea of color go down the street, and I can’t describe the feeling. It hits you that all of those people are out there for a reason."

And Young wants more people to sign up each year, ideally more than 20,000. Participation, along with greater awareness, continue to be her vision.

"It's still one in eight women will be diagnosed sometime in their life time, that number hasn't changed in 29 years

So she works each day of her retirement. Sometimes selling shirts, other times with office paperwork.

I wish there was a cure, or we knew what the cause is."

With the belief her sister is watching.

"I think she would be very, very proud about what everyone in the community has done."