CAMP TAQADDUM, Iraq -- Service members serving in the Al Anbar Province recently lent their support to women's cancer research, participating in the 13th annual Revlon Run/Walk For Women, held here for the first time in a combat zone May 13, 2006.
The run-walk was organized to mirror the stateside event held in New York and Los Angeles, which started in 1993 to raise awareness and funding for cancer research and outreach programs for women.
Nearly 70 runners showed up for the 6:30 a.m. start time and raised almost $2,500 in pledges from people in the United States and service members based in Iraq.
Marines Gunnery Sgt. Dave Watson, a 37 year-old from Rochester, N.Y., and Cpl. Richard G. Guerrero, a 26 year-old from Los Angles, organized the 5-kilometer run primarily to show their support for loved ones who have battled the disease.
"I started doing the event three years ago," said Guerrero, whose grandmother had recently undergone surgeries for cancer. "I told my family that even though I would be in Iraq for this year's event, I would still run."
As a sign of support aimed at their loved ones, Guerrero and Watson, both stationed with Combat Logistics Regiment 15 here, ran with signs displaying the names of those they were honoring.
"It's painful to see people deal with cancer. Doing this run makes me feel like I'm back at home with the ones I love," said Watson.
Even though the runners in Iraq were half a world away, organizers in the United States were happy for the service members' participation and were grateful for their service to country.
"We support the troops one hundred percent and love all of (those) serving our nation," said Sally Bowman, team coordinator for the stateside event, which has raised nearly $37 million to date.
It's great to have the event being held throughout the world, having members of the nation's military participate in the race, said Bowman.
"It's for a good cause," said Cpl. Dwight Whitaker, a 25 year-old from Murfreesboro, Tenn. "It feels good to run (for a worthy cause.)"