About six years ago Amy Heinrich’s good friend and co-worker died of breast cancer.
A week later Susan G. Komen Maryland reached out and asked if Heinrich, a partner at Goodell DeVries, would join its board.
“I had participated before, but the opportunity to be on the board came at the right time for the right reasons,” she said. “I kind of feel like it was preordained that I would get more involved.”
Heinrich served on the board until 2014 and was chairman of the board for her final two years.
She also helped lead her company’s involvement in Komen’s annual Race for the Cure.
“The breast cancer cause is a cause that our firm has really embraced,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of people at our firm who have been affected over the years.”
Kim Schmulowitz, communications and development director at Susan G. Komen Maryland, says that Heinrich and other volunteers can expect exciting changes that will breathe new life into the annual Race for the Cure.
This year’s race, scheduled for Oct. 25 in Hunt Valley, is the 23rd Race for the Cure in Central Maryland.
The Eastern Shore will hold its fifth Race for the Cure this year.
Participation varies, but the Central Maryland event has for the past few years drawn about 15,000 participants and 5,000 spectators. In the past three years, about $1.8 million dollars has been raised per each race. The races in Hunt Valley and in Ocean City account for about 70 percent of the organization’s annual revenue.
Of the funds raised, about 75 percent of the money stays in Maryland for community health programs that directly impact people in the state living with breast cancer.
“The event has become iconic in the state, but we’re always looking for ways to keep the day fresh for all participants,” Schmulowitz said.
This year, she said, the schedule has been reworked to enhance the participant experience. Among other things, Schmulowitz said, participants will have more time to enjoy “race village,” and the survivor parade has been moved to later in the day when more people will be able to experience what is among the most emotional parts of the day.
After the race, there will be food trucks with seating available.
“We’re constantly looking for ways to stay fresh and attract new participants,” she said.
For Heinrich, she says, her firm’s involvement has only grown since Goodell and DeVries first began participating in the Race for the Cure in 2005.
She said the firm started with a team of 52. Most years now more than 100 participate.
The firm also is a high-level sponsor, donating about $10,000, and participants also do their own fundraising.
“Everybody feels like they have a personal connection to the cause,” she said. “It’s so rewarding.”