Join Siteman for the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure

As someone affected by breast cancer, Yulanda Tomlin-Watson is part of a team no one chooses to join. In 1998, the disease took her mother, the nucleus of her extended family.

In her honor, Tomlin-Watson started a team the next year that friends and relatives happily joined. “JoAnn’s Jewels,” named after the woman they lost, has participated in the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure every year since.

Komen shirt 2013

“My mom was the heart of our family,” Tomlin-Watson says. “She drew everyone together. That was just her spirit.”

Tomlin-Watson, an asthma coach at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, continues the tradition on June 15, when she joins the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine for the 15th annual Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure in downtown St. Louis.

“Breast cancer is going to affect you some way – you, someone you know,” she says. “We need to do what we can and to be more aware.”

Those who join the Siteman team for the 5K run or walk will receive two T-shirts – a Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure shirt and a specially designed Siteman team shirt. Registrants who sign up online also are entered into a drawing for one of two Kindle Fire tablets and will receive a one-year subscription to SELF magazine or GQ magazine. The deadline for registering online is midnight May 28. Visit for more information.

The Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure has had a tremendous impact on Barnes-Jewish and Washington University patients, says Susan Kraenzle, RN, manager of Siteman’s Joanne Knight Breast Health Center.

Since 1998, when the St. Louis race began, Komen has awarded about $28 million for outreach, education, screening and research programs at the Washington University Medical Center campus.

“It moves me to see our city turns out the way it does,” Kraenzle says. “I lost a sister to breast cancer, and I wish she were here to see this and know people are fighting for her and her kids.”

Of the net proceeds raised locally, up to 75 percent stays in St. Louis to help Siteman and other organizations provide breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs. For example, Komen funds allow Siteman to provide free mammographies to more than 3,200 underserved, low-income women in the area.

As for Tomlin-Watson, she now hosts the holiday dinners her mother once did. The Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure has become a family tradition, too. Members of JoAnn’s Jewels carry fans bearing an image of the smiling matriarch. During the walk, they reminisce about the times they shared with her.

So many families have been affected by breast cancer, a point Tomlin-Watson recognizes every Race for the Cure when she stops at a particular vantage point along the route. From there she sees the tens of thousands of other people walking, running and remembering alongside her.

“It’s just a humbling sight to see,” she says. “You see all these people coming together for this one cause.”

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Category: Siteman Cancer Center

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The Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital & Washington University School of Medicine is the only cancer center in Missouri to hold the prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute and membership in the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Siteman offers the expertise of more than 350 Washington University research scientists and physicians who provide care for more than 8,000 newly diagnosed patients each year at a main campus in St. Louis and satellite centers in west St. Louis County, St. Charles County and south St. Louis County.

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