Shelton survivor named 2016 New Balance honorary team member

Shelton resident Debbie Russell has been named as the 2016 New Balance Honorary Team Member for the Susan G. Komen® Southern New England Race for the Cure® Fairfield County on May 7 in Westport. Russell is being honored for her personal perseverance against breast cancer and her dedication to raising breast cancer awareness.

“There are so many people who cannot afford the care they need, which is why it is so important to support organizations like Susan G. Komen Southern New England,” said Russell. The funds raised by Komen help local women fight breast cancer, and assures that women in need across the state can receive screenings.”

Russell was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2009, just days after her 50th birthday. Like many, an abnormality was found during a routine annual mammogram. Fortunately, after surgery and radiation, Russell went into remission and is now cancer-free.

“As a breast cancer survivor, I am alive today because someone else ‘ran’ for me,” she said. “Now it was my turn; I do this run for other survivors, the incredible people that have lost their lives or loved ones to breast cancer, but most importantly I’m running for all the people that can’t because of this terrible disease.”

Russell has been involved in the Race since its first year in 2013. She serves as Team Captain for Team Knock Out, and has even ran alongside her breast surgeon, Dr. Mary Pronovost.

“Prior to my diagnosis, I was in the best shape of my life, receiving my third black belt in Tae Kwon Do, running boot camps, and teaching kickboxing,” explained Russell.

She even left her office job to pursue a career in the fitness world. Russell now teaches kickboxing at Pitney Bowes where she is also a health fitness specialist. She credits kickboxing with helping her overcome breast cancer.

“Continuing to teach kickboxing during treatment is what gave me an outlet to fight the fear as well as giving me strength to fight the disease,” she explained.

New Balance is celebrating over 25 years of partnership with Susan G. Komen and recognizes breast cancer survivors and those who have made a difference in the fight against breast cancer across the country. As the honorary team member, Russell has been outfitted with New Balance Lace Up for the Cure® shoes and apparel.

Race for the Cure Fairfield County takes place on Saturday, May 7 at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park. Race for the Cure is the signature fundraising event for Susan G. Komen. The race includes a certified 5K run and 5K walk—a 3.1 mile course—participants can choose whether they would like to be timed. Youth under 16 may take part in the timed or untimed 5K or participate in the Kids’ 1K. Survivors are encouraged to join Komen Southern New England at the News 12 Connecticut Survivor Breakfast beginning at 7:30 AM, followed by the survivor procession.

To register for the Race for the Cure, visit Registration rates increase on May 1.