Defiance College partners with Susan G. Komen to Race for the Cure

September 29, 2017 

Defiance College members at Susan G. Komen race in Toledo
DEFIANCE, Ohio - Last weekend, more than 70 students, faculty, and staff participated in the Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio Race for the Cure in Toledo to support the fight against breast cancer.  A partnership began in the spring between Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio and the McMaster School for Advancing Humanity. 

Gretchen Awad, Community Relations and Development Manager of Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio, stated: “The Defiance College team from the McMaster School of Advanced Humanity and Project 701 were absolute ‘game-changers’ for Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio during this year’s Toledo Race for the Cure. The leadership quality of the students and their ‘can do’ attitudes were obvious to every staff member, committee member, and race participant. Their dedication showed a true understanding of nonprofit fundraising and a commitment to the mission of Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio.”

The Defiance College team gave their time to support the cause in various ways on race weekend. The day before the race, students from Defiance College helped with setting up the survivors’ tent and landscaping.  On race day, students left campus at 4:30 a.m. to help with many aspects of the event including: volunteering in the survivors’ tent, assisting with children’s activities, and 22 DC members joined “The Swarm” team as runners in the event.  DC’s mascot, Buzz, encouraged racers during the family fun walk. Defiance College President Richanne C. Mankey and Dr. Agnes Caldwell, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean, participated in the survivors’ parade.

“I was so pleased - and not surprised - with the comments I heard about our students,” said President Mankey. “Those from Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio who planned the day noted how helpful our students were and how their hard work made the complicated and multi-faceted preparations of this very well-planned and organized event come together. Race day was a great event with an emotional back-drop of both celebration and loss. Defiance College supported the Komen team; together, it was a job well done. We are thrilled to have been invited to be a part of it and look forward to next year.”

Earlier in September, Rena Rager, Administrative Assistant of the McMaster School, served as the keynote speaker at the survivors’ breakfast, held at the Pinnacle in Toledo, Ohio.  During the breakfast, Rager shared her battle with breast cancer and how it inspired her to work alongside McMaster Scholars in Belize to teach the importance of early detection and self-exams.

As a result of these events, Project 701, a student run non-profit housed under the Defiance College McMaster School for Advancing Humanity, formed a project in partnership with Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio to create awareness, fundraise, and fight breast cancer together. The recently approved project, named “Project Pink,” will allow students to gain valuable experience in how to run a large nonprofit, including fundraising and awareness, while working to support the Komen mission.

Marissa Windau, a DC junior from Castalia, Ohio majoring in Exercise Science, is one of the first managers of Project Pink. She remarked after the race: “To see everyone working together for one goal was very inspirational. The whole experience was very humbling and I look forward to Defiance College making a difference through this partnership.”

Komen Northwest Ohio has funded $12 million in local granting funds that directly impact underserved and uninsured women and men in a 24-county service area, which includes Defiance County. Additionally, they have contributed $3 million to breast cancer research at the national level, making Susan G. Komen the second largest nonprofit breast cancer research funder outside the U.S. government. More information may be found at

Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is

Photo identities, left to right:

Last Middle Row Standing:  Sydney Unger, Morgan Porter, and Nate Principe.

Back Row Standing:  Alicia Kalik, Brad Harsha, Marcelino Gonzalez, Mason Gross, Adam Swisher, Jared Schnee, Jenny Holbrooks, Eline Widman, Abigail Cronin, Marissa Windau, Morgan Zang, Emma Seitz, Daren Gies, Kelsey Brenneman, Allie Breneman, Alyson Seibert, Jason Santora, Nate Hicks, Ryan Mays, and Ken Ciolek.

Middle Row Standing:  Terry Studer, Mary Ann Studer, Austin Conlon, Chelsey Braunwart, MacKenzie Combs, Cayla Walker, Nick Eberle, Mariah Huff, Jennifer Nashalsky, Tyler Hines, Calli Bauer, Laura Lutzke, Lindsay Aversa, Madi Bowman, and Dr. Agnes Caldwell.

Bottom Row Standing:  Rena Rager, Chyanne Cameron, Natalie Woodson, Lexxie Fowler, Kandee Manson, Chris Helberg, Natalie Ferguson-Schuerman, Angelica Chandler, Emma Bedan, Kenna Bell, Meagan Trimpey, Brooke Waidelich, Zach Salinas, Megan Overmann, Rachel Wehrman, Janelle Rubio, and President Richanne Mankey.

Sitting:  Marquis Tucker, Malia Ferry, Katie Settich, Blake Newman, Chelsey Strawser, Kaitlyn Hughes, and Rylea Amspaugh.