Pink Warrior Dash 5K

Walmart employees, from left, Khris Vazquez, Amy Young and Tania Culpepper present a check to Pink Warriors volunteer Nicole Manyen during the fourth annual Pink Warrior Dash 5K on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, at  Copperas Cove City Park.

Almost 200 people came out to participate and support the fourth annual Pink Warrior 5K Dash, which was Saturday at City Park.

The event is held each year to raise awareness and money and to bring support for those who are battling breast cancer.

Many businesses throughout the local area supported the event.

Nicole Manyen was one of the volunteer coordinators of this year’s event, along with her daughter, Chelsea Manyen. They got involved with Pink Warrior Angels about a year ago, right after they moved to the area.

“We are thrilled with such a super big turnout for this year’s race,” Nicole Manyen said. “The support from the community is amazing, especially coming from a big city to a small city like Copperas Cove. You actually see a bigger family support. More people are inclined to talk about breast cancer, and know that it is your next door neighbor.”

Pink Warrior Angels is about learning how to support one another on a more one-to-one basis, according to Nicole Manyen

“This disease definitely affects my whole family and me,” Nicole Manyen said. “We have created family support here.”

Resident David Lewis participated in his third Pink Warrior 5K dash this year. His daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and the Pink Warriors helped her until she died in January.

“I come every year to support the organization,” Lewis said.

Pink Warrior Angels was co-founded by Julie Moser and Jennifer Reynolds. It is a nonprofit organization founded by two breast cancer survivors who were diagnosed under the age of 40. They met by chance and felt extremely alone throughout their journeys.

Both survivors believed there had to be a better way to find support and encouragement for those diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Having support from our community is powerful,” Moser said. “It helps bring awareness to everyone. ... I know before I was diagnosed, I had no idea what impact one would have when going through their journey. Just even educating one person is one more we have helped learn about all that is involved with breast cancer.

“It is not all pink, glitter and unicorns, you know?”

The Pink Warrior Angels also aided several military wives, both near and far, Moser said.

Being a military spouse has its own special challenges, she added.

“We are made to be resilient while our spouses are away. And take care of things at home,” she said. “Adding a breast cancer diagnosis just elevates the need to rally around a military spouse during her journey.”

Several participants in this year’s 5K Dash were military spouses.

Lourdes Pie ran in the 5K, and said it was her first event with the Pink Warrior Angels.

“I wanted to get involved with this event because I do know someone who is going through this disease,” Pie said. She and her husband live in Killeen and are retired from the military.

Reina Torres is also a military spouse.

“This disease runs in our family, and we lost someone very close to us,” Torres said. “That is why I wanted to participate in this event.

Torres was among a team of four, the Pink Bells.

“It was wonderful that this community supports this organization so much,” Torres said. “This was my first time at this event.”

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