Tour for the Cure brings out fitness enthusiasts for breast cancer awareness, health programs

Jul 20, 2012 by

Before the sun began to creep over the rim of Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium and cascade across colorful petals at the Tyler Rose Garden, dozens of fitness enthusiasts were gathering, stretching and anticipating a special day.

Some drove from as far as the San Antonio area to participate in a first for TJC, and Tyler, on Oct. 21, 2011.

The occasion was Tour for the Cure, a day of fitness activities planned to increase awareness of TJC’s growing school of nursing and health sciences, as well as to contribute to the local Susan G. Komen fund for breast cancer.

Some came because of their bicycling enthusiasm, others in tribute to a cancer survivor or victim. Many were on site to represent TJC’s 11 nursing and health science programs.

“We were looking for something that celebrates our promise number 3 of community service and that recognizes our role as a community partner,” said Mitch Andrews, director of principal gifts for the TJC Foundation and one of the event’s organizers. “We wanted to do something that would benefit TJC and benefit another significant program in our community. And so, we created Tour for the Cure.”

Betty Briggs, Alumni Affairs Director

Throughout Mike Carter Field’s parking lot and flowing onto the adjacent properties of Rose Stadium and Harvey Convention Center was a sea of pink T-shirts, representing cancer survivors, volunteers and ride and walk participants.
The day not only raised funds and awareness for the two worthy causes, it brought memories.

“My best friend’s mother, Denise Hess, passed away on Easter Day (2011),” said Salena Rozell, a student in TJC’s associate degree nursing program who has since graduated. “She battled breast cancer for a year and it progressed. She developed brain cancer and passed away. It was very tragic and I am here to say she’s in my heart today.”

Mary Lowe, a former Apache Belle and member of Belle Gold, was named Survivor of the Year for the event.

“I’m so excited about what Tyler Junior College has done. I’m so thankful and appreciative to Dr. Metke, Dr. Russell, to Jasilyn Schaefer and the whole Apache Belle alumni, the school of nursing, everyone connected to this,” she said.

“Forty-thousand women this year will lose their lives to breast cancer. One in eight will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. So the more awareness we have, the more educated women are, the better, and events like this make that possible.”

More than 1,000 people participated in Tour for the Cure by walking, biking, dancing in the Zumba-thon, watching TJC’s football game against Lon Morris College, attending the benefit car show and participating in health care screenings.

The events committees gathered in November to assess the success of Tour for the Cure and plan for future fitness and awareness events. Plans are beginning for a similar fitness event to be held on the TJC campus in 2013.



Community, Features, Spring 2012

About the author

Fred Peters is the Director of Public Affairs at Tyler Junior College. He can be reached at 903-510-2627 or at