CHICAGO (WLS) --Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the Susan G. Komen Mother's Day Race for the Cure.
The event was extra special for mothers who battled breast cancer, including Joan Lewis, who was honored Sunday as a Pink Hero.
At age 38, Lewis was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her kids were just 2, 4 and 6. To fight the illness, she said she relied on the advice and help from friends who had beaten cancer. Now, seven years in remission, she's returning the favor.
"I'm kind of the go to person when someone gets diagnosed. They'll give me a call especially young mothers which seems to be sort of the trend these days," Lewis said.
Aminah Abdullah, of Komen Chicago, said Lewis did more than raise awareness.
"She actually is out there fighting day to day letting people know about the cause," Abdullah said.
Since 2007, the Susan G. Komen Foundation has provided more than 30,000 free or low-cost mammograms and 40,000 breast exams to women in Chicago. The organization also helps women fighting cancer find support.
"Sometimes it's nice to have someone who's been through it who knows what to expect and how to feel. Years out you still have feelings," Lewis said.
More than 1,000 Chicago-area women and men die each year from breast cancer, and there is a large disparity in the city. The mortality rate of African American women is 40 percent higher than for white women.