Cancer survivors walk the track at Churchill Downs for annual Oa - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Cancer survivors walk the track at Churchill Downs for annual Oaks Day Parade

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For the 141st Oaks Race, 141 breast and ovarian cancer survivors walked the track at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2015. For the 141st Oaks Race, 141 breast and ovarian cancer survivors walked the track at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2015.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- For the 141st Oaks Race, 141 breast and ovarian cancer survivors walked the track at Churchill Downs, where so many horses have crossed the finish line to become champions.

“This was a dream for me to be able to do this,” said cancer survivor Helen Roggenkamp.

A dream to stand strong as a survivor.

“These people have won the greatest race of all, which is the race of life. For them to be honored here at the Oaks, it's a special day for them, it's a special day for Kentucky,” said Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear.

The women were chosen from across the nation to walk in this year's 2015 Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade. A record number of 541 women were nominated by friends and family members, raising $20,000.

Many of the survivors say they are grateful for this opportunity in life.

“I like being around other survivors and see so many people who have fought so hard. It makes me remember those that haven't made it,” said Roggenkamp.

The money raised goes to the non-profit organization, Bright Pink, for education, support and empowerment of young woman nationwide in the hopes of preventing breast and ovarian cancer.

“The whole key to changing the statistics that we have in Kentucky is early detection,” said Beshear.

For the last seven years of the survivor's walk, Churchill Downs has also donated $620,000 to breast cancer organizations.

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