CLEVELAND - It's not easy to finish the Cleveland Marathon. But for one group of runners, the race will be a cake walk compared to what they've already been through.
They are members of Team Bright Pink. Like Angelina Jolie, some of the women on the team tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation that puts them at a high risk for breast and ovarian cancers.
"In my mind, it wasn't if I was going to have breast cancer, it was when," said Betsy Coy, who started the local chapter of Bright Pink. At age 34, she learned she had an 87 percent lifetime risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer.
Coy had a double mastectomy and reconstruction, as well as surgery to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, which cut her risk to less than 5 percent.
"I had two young children and a husband and a family that I cared about and so for me, it was really important to reduce my risk as much as possible," she said.
The Bright Pink organization focuses on the prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women. It's also a support system for those at high risk.
Team Bright Pink will have 21 runners in the half marathon, a distance of 13.1 miles. They have already raised $14,000.
"We've been through this," said Team Bright Pink runner Amy Stossel. "We're on the other side and we can show everyone else that it's okay."
For more information about Bright Pink go to www.BrightPink.org
You can also find out how to support the local runners at http://www.stayclassy.org/cleveland/events/cleveland-half-marathon/e22768