Sophomore races for a cure

Sophomore Amanda Brannan gathers around with her team, Believe in a Breakthrough. The group poses as they await the beginning of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Sophomore Amanda Brannan gathers around with her team, “Believe in a Breakthrough.” The group poses as they await the beginning of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Facing the brisk October morning air dressed in pink and with her team behind her, sophomore Amanda Brannan stands up to cancer.

In 2009, when Brannan was just 12 years old, her mother passed away from breast cancer. After she passed, Brannan took over her family’s Susan G. Komen team “Believe in a Breakthrough.”

Brannan’s cousin Stacy Lort, a 1994 JC graduate, created “Believe in a Breakthrough” in honor of Brannan’s mom, Joan. While she was still alive, Joan participated in walks for breast cancer. The name was chosen by Lort because “we want to believe that one day there will be a cure for all cancer. We don’t want to have to watch the same thing my mom went through again, and have to worry about friends or future daughters getting this disease,” Brannan said.

Every October, the team participates in the Race for the Cure in Maryland, sponsored by Susan G. Komen. Fellow sophomores Austin Eiseman, Jake Kahoe, and Ryan Shehann are captains for different sections of the team, while Brannan is the sole captain for the whole team. “I like to say that October is my busy month. During the month of October it’s like having a job with the amount of hours I work on organizing the team for the Race for the Cure, but I enjoy doing it and look forward to this month every year”, Brannan said.

“The biggest donation I ever got for the team was from the Arena Club. I hosted an event there called Swim Fest, and in 2011 the event raised 4,500 dollars and then The Arena Club owners matched the amount of money raised. In four years the Believe in a Breakthrough Group as a whole has raised close to 100,000 dollars. I am not sure if we have passed the 100,000 dollar marker yet, but I know we are very close to it”, Brannan said.

This year, the race will be held on October 21, 2012. With one week left, it’s the busiest week of the month for Brannan. “My motivation is my love for the event. You have to have a huge passion and love for something to put so much effort into it. Race for the Cure is something I love and I love having a huge team there. I set goals for myself, and my motivation is to reach those goals,” Brannan said.

One of these goals is to have a bigger team than last year, using the ‘Believe in a Breakthrough’ Facebook page for the 2015 class, which includes where to sign up and how to donate. “It might be hard since last year we had over 100 people there, and as of October 14 we have 100 members on the team, but I hope this year to have 120-130 people,” Brannan said.

Brannan designed rubber bracelets that read “Patriots in Pink,” originally for the sophomore class, that have now gotten about 250 students involved. “This way, the students can still wear them with their uniform and show they care,” Brannan said. Students can purchase a bracelet for $2.00 from Brannan, Eiseman, or Kahoe and all of the proceeds are going to the cancer centers at Mercy Hospital and The Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

“I am so thankful and blessed to have all the support from my sophomore class. I really want them to know how much I appreciate all their love and support. It means the world to me when I see everyone talking about and getting excited for the Race for the Cure,” Brannan said. “I am so proud of the Believe in a Breakthrough group and how much it has grown over the years! Words can’t even express how excited I am for this year’s race for the cure on Sunday, now that it’s less than a week away. I am also excited that so many of the team members are excited about the event, that makes me happy when I see other people get excited.”

Lauren Fabiszak is an In-depth Editor for The Patriot and