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(Toledo News Now) -
The Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio Race for the Cure would not exist without the support of survivors, supporters, friends and family.
Hundreds continue a legacy of support for the Susan G. Komen organization and the race, all in honor of one very special lady.
Gretchen Gotthart Skeldon was inspirational to thousands, as the 2003 Susan G. Komen Northwest Ohio Race for the Cure was in celebration of her breast cancer survival.
"She was honored by these things, you know, she was humble and I don't think she expected or took anything for granted when it came to those kind of things," said Missy Holden, Gretchen's sister.
Seven years later in 2010, when Gretchen lost her battle, she inspired again. Komen held the race in her memory.
Gretchen said in 2009, "I feel like I'm the luckiest woman alive. I really do. I don't ever say, 'Why me?' I never did."
"It put her on a path that she wouldn't have otherwise traveled. Part of that path was meeting the people from Susan G. Komen and developing friendships and things like that. She never missed an opportunity to speak about her journey," said Gretchen's sister, Casey Schreiner.
Just a month after her death in 2010, the Gretchen Gotthart Skeldon fund was born, allowing her work to live on.
"Everyone's consensus was that we had to do something and it just came together very quickly because of that," said Gretchen's best friend, Gretchen DeBacker.
Today, the Gretchen Gotthart Skeldon fund operates by her motto, "Do all the good you can."
The fund has gifted more than $75,000 to organizations and causes dear to Gretchen's heart, especially Susan G. Komen and the Northwest Ohio Race for the Cure.
"Gretchen loved Komen. She believed in what they did, and from my perspective, it kept Gretchen alive for another seven or eight years, because the drugs that Komen would do research on or provide money for research, are the specific drugs that kept her alive," said Gretchen's husband, Phil Skeldon.
It's how her family made sure Gretchen would always walk alongside women with breast cancer.
"We run the race every year. We donate money to Komen every year. We donate it, one, for low income women to receive mammograms, but also for a unique program that Komen helped us set up to help women with their daily needs. If it's getting a taxi to a treatment, we will provide that. If it's any type of daily necessities, we're going to help them with that," said Phil.
Gretchen's sister-in-law, Mary Chris Skeldon is Komen Northwest Ohio board president. She is in her second battle with breast cancer and fought alongside Gretchen as she lost her battle.
My mantra is, 'Stay in life' and Gretchen's mantra was, 'Do all the good you can.'"
"So if you put those two things together, you're going to have a pretty good darn life. Every time I think of the race, I think of Gretchen and I still miss her very very much," said Mary Chris.