'Sir'vivor ready to run for cause in Hays
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
Mark Goldstein is a "sirvivor." Goldstein, 81 from Randolph, N.J., is coming to Hays to run in his 229th Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on May 10.
As one of the 1 percent of men who have been affected by breast cancer, Goldstein has made it his mission to support the cause by running all first-time races. Since he was unable to run last year at the first Race for the Cure in Hays, he chose to show his support this year.
"I was shocked," Goldstein said when he first was diagnosed. "I'm a man, but I should get what was typically considered a woman's disease. I couldn't imagine what was going on."
More than 200,000 women are diagnosed each year, while less than 3,000 men are diagnosed, according to the American Cancer Society.
He first was diagnosed in 1988 and ran his first race in 1992 after receiving a modified radical mastectomy on his left breast. Goldstein had alternating chemotherapy and radiation for 27 weeks.
Before running his first race, Goldstein was watching TV with his wife and saw a commercial for the Komen Race for the Cure in New York City, but the race only allowed women to run.
That didn't stop him. He filled out the registration forms using only his initials and showed up.
"The race organizers said, 'You can't run. You're a man,' " Goldstein said. "I said, 'I've had a modified radical mastectomy, chemo, radiation and developed emphysema. Except for the genitalia, I fully qualify.' So off we went running. They tried to stop us, but we just kept running."
That began his career as a runner, Goldstein said.
"I was motivated by lack of awareness and the community at-large," he said.
In 1995, he received a sponsorship from New Balance.
"That gave me the encouragement to start running," Goldstein said. "I didn't see myself as the 'Forest Gump of Breast Cancer,' but it turned out that way."
Through running every Komen race in the U.S. and five international races, Goldstein was able to spread his message.
"Men should not die from breast cancer because of ignorance," he said. "That's the driving force that propels me."
Goldstein makes himself visible at every race by wearing a shirt stating his message and a traditional pink survivor hat.
"I am both visible and verbal," he said. "I'm not only a survivor, but a conqueror. You survive the disease, but you must also conquer the emotions."
The race begins at 7:15 a.m. May 10 at Hays Municipal Park. Children and adult events will take place. A special buffet-style survivors breakfast will be from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. Survivors can come and go as they please.
For more information or to register, visit komenmidks.org.