Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Fara Palumbo and Live Fearless brand ambassador Mia Hamm helped nearly 250 breast cancer survivors and supporters kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month and race month at Charlotte Motor Speedway by painting pit road wall pink on Wednesday. (CMS/HHP photo)
– More than 250 breast cancer survivors, families and friends joined global soccer star Mia Hamm, a bevy of NASCAR drivers and personalities and representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina to kick off National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and preview the upcoming Drive For the Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 9.
“Our focus today is about talking to women about being vigilant about your healthcare and your health – particularly about breast cancer prevention, detection and treatment,” said Hamm, a brand ambassador for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s Live Fearless campaign. “I’m really in awe of all of these survivors and how fearless they are to wake up every day and say, ‘today is going to be a good day.’ You guys are taking an active role in your health and setting a great example, not only for us that are here today, but for all the women in your lives.”
Fara Palumbo, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina was among the survivors to take part in the event and spoke to the importance of partnerships and working together to find a cure.
“Every year we see advances in early detection and treatment and with each promising new development, more women gain the tools they need to fight and win their personal battle with breast cancer,” Palumbo said. “But there’s a long way to go before we can wave the checkered flag on this disease. That’s why efforts like today’s paint the wall pink and next week’s Drive for the Cure 300 are so important. Blue Cross was incredibly lucky to find a supportive partner in Charlotte Motor Speedway and NASCAR, partners who share our commitment to the health and well-being of women in North Carolina and empowering them to live fearless.”
NASCAR drivers Austin Dillon, Darrell Wallace Jr., Chris Buescher, Blake Koch, Brennan Poole and Hermie Sadler and Miss Sprint Cup Julianna White pitched in to unveil the 2015 Drive for the Cure 300 trophy, help paint pit road wall pink and show their support for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina’s efforts to raise awareness of early detection, prevention and treatment of breast cancer.
Koch, who was joined at the event by his mother, shared his personal story of her battle with breast cancer. After his mother’s diagnosis in 2006, Koch said the importance of a strong support system was clear.
“I knew how important it was for me to be confident in her fighting this disease. She was strong enough to keep me positive,” Koch recalled. “It was really difficult to see someone you love so much like your mom going through something. I remember when she started her chemo treatment and she was going to lose her hair, me and my stepdad shaved our heads with her. We were just part of the process and supporting her as much as we could.”
Through all the stories and remembrances, the message of the day – and the message of next week’s Drive for the Cure 300 – is one of hope.
“One day I really believe there will be no need for a Drive for the Cure 300, as much fun as it will be. We will have cured breast cancer,” Palumbo said. “But until then, we must continue to work together and drive forward until we reach that finish line – until we have defeated breast cancer.”
Fans can catch all the action surrounding the only Saturday night race in the Chase, including Bojangles’ Pole Night on Oct. 8, the NASCAR XFINITY Series Drive for the Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina on Oct. 9 and the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 10 with weekend packages starting at just $99.