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20131005 MISSION MissionPink 0269They wore tutus, fairy wings and kitten ears. They shook their maracas and blew whistles.

They created an army of pink, wearing shirts with phrases like “Big and small, save them all,” “Fight like a girl,” and “Save the rack.”

Those wearing shirts emblazoned with “Survivor” had a special place of honor and were celebrated by the more than 2,800 people who participated in the MissionPink 5K Saturday morning.

The fifth annual walk/run hosted by Mission Regional Medical Center was marked with hope and celebration. Most of the profits from the event will go to the Foundation at Mission Regional Medical Centers support the Breast Care Center, and 25 percent of the funds will be used for free digital screening mammograms for uninsured women older than 40.

Lisa Villegas, morning meteorologist for KRGV, served as host and announced over the summer she had a surgery to remove a lump.

CLICK HERE to view images from this event and many others in our NEWLY REDESIGNED photo galleries!

“When they asked me to do this, it really meant a lot to me,” Villegas said. “I think it’s very important that women and gents check themselves out. I’m definitely going to be walking for myself and each and every one of you.”

Javier Iruegas, hospital CEO, asked everyone who attended to keep awareness of breast cancer up all year long.

“Don’t let this be the beginning and the end of the awareness campaign,” he said.

20131005 MISSION MissionPink 0233Leticia Peña, Veterans Memorial High School principal, shared her story of hope with the thousands in the audience. Peña was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29 years old and is a 23-year survivor. She found she was a carrier of a gene that increases her chances of cancer. Peña shared the results with her family, and a sister, two cousins and a daughter who all tested positive for the gene chose to get bilateral mastectomies with immediate reconstructive surgeries.

Peña pointed out that they did it before Angelina Jolie publicly started raising awareness about the surgery.

“My daugther’s my hero—23 years of age, recently married and had this surgery,” Peña said. “And she looks beautiful.

“We’re survivors.”

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