SPOKANE, Wash. -

Sunday marked the 8th Annual Susan G. Komen Eastern Washington Race for the Cure in Downtown Spokane. A pink sea of people walked and ran the 5k race to raise both money and awareness for breast cancer.

About 6,500 people fought the rain and cold Sunday morning to participate in the Race for the Cure, each of them having their own reason as to why this race is so important to them.

Cathy Santangelo never had breast cancer, but there was a high enough risk for her to take proactive measures. About two years ago Cathy tested positive for BRCA1.

"Having watched my mom go through a breast cancer battle two times in her life, and also finding out that she is BRCA1 positive, it really just kind of put more power in my hands to decide how I wanted to handle that diagnosis," Cathy said.

With the surgeries behind her, today signified health, strength, and unity for Cathy’s whole family.

"It seemed fitting that my family and I participate in Race for the Cure for the first time this year just as a way to celebrate what we've been through in the past year. And that we made it through and I had so much support from my family during that whole year," Cathy said.

As much praise as Cathy gives her supporters, she is a hero in their eyes.

"We couldn't be more proud of her, just as a role model, as a mother and as a family member, we're just so happy to be here today," said Cathy’s niece Colleen Santangelo.

To make the day even more special, Cathy was surprised by her parents at the start of the race.

"It was just really special to have them here, and to be able to walk with my mom," Cathy said.

Cathy and her mom crossed the finish line hand-in-hand as two healthy women, each with their own story of what it means to be a survivor.