WASHINGTON, June 6 (UPI) -- An estimated 300 people gathered Friday night at the Washington home of Vice President Joe Biden to help kick off the Komen Global Race for the Cure.
Organizers expect about 50,000 people to participate in the event at the Mall in Washington, the 20th annual Race for the Cure in Washington. Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, are honorary co-chairs for the event.
Speaking from a stage decorated with pink -- the color associated with the campaign to fight breast cancer, Biden told the audience Friday about a college roommate of his whose wife died of breast cancer.
"This is not just an idle get together," he said. "We are committed like all of you."
Biden noted that more women -- minority women in particular -- are being screened for breast cancer, more tumors are being detected early and the number of mammograms performed annually has doubled in 20 years.
Biden introduced Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, who also serves as the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control. Brinker noted this is the first year the Race for the Cure has gone global, although she said most of her work is in done in the United States.
"We do know this disease does not end at our borders," Brinker said.
Race for the Cure has raised $1.3 billion since it began in 1982, Brinker said, noting that in that time the five-year survival rate for breast cancer before it has spread has increased to 98 percent -- up from 74 percent when Race for the Cure began.