The Connecticut affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is proud to announce that Jane Gladitsch of Trumbull and Jeanine Gutauskas of New Canaan have been appointed as chairs for the 2013 Komen Connecticut Race for the Cure.

The race — the first of its kind in Fairfield County — will be held on Saturday, May 11, at Westport’s Sherwood Island State Park.

Both Gutauskas and Gladitsch have been involved with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in various capacities for several years.

Gladitsch’s personal connections to the disease sparked her involvement with Komen. She first became involved after losing her aunt to the disease in 1999, and a close friend was diagnosed shortly after. She began participating in the Susan G. Komen three-day event, walking thousands of miles and raising thousands of dollars in support of the fight against breast cancer. She eventually decided to focus her efforts locally, and joined forces with Komen Connecticut.

“It is important to me that I know, and can tell my donors, exactly where their funds are going and how the money is being used,” she said. “With Komen Connecticut, there is complete transparency with the local organizations that receive grants, and how the dollars are used to support programs that lead to early detection.”

With planning in full swing, both women are looking forward to enjoying the fruits of their labor on Race Day.

“I don’t know exactly what to expect on Race Day,” Gladitsch admitted. “Some will be surviving, some will be healing, some will be remembering. Komen Connecticut events focus on the celebration of life, and I am looking forward to that.”

After watching her mother-in-law’s courageous 25-year battle with breast cancer, and seeing how it affected her entire family, Gutauskas wanted to do something to make sure other local families weren’t faced with the same situation. In 2008, she and her family began participating in the Komen Connecticut Race for the Cure in Hartford, naming their team “Rita Margarita’s Runners” in honor of her ailing mother-in-law. Although Rita lost her battle with the disease last year, Gutauskas never loses sight of her inspiration to end breast cancer.

“Komen Connecticut was tremendously supportive of my mother-in-law and my family,” Gutauskas said. “The organization does such important work for the men and women of Connecticut, and it is important for me to know that the funds I raise are going back into the local community to help people like my mother-in-law.”

For each of the past three years, Komen Connecticut has funded over $1 million in community grants to local organizations providing life-saving services for women in need across the state (including CancerCare in Norwalk, Bridgeport Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Stamford Hospital, and St. Vincent’s Hospital, among others). Seventy-five percent of Komen Connecticut’s net proceeds support local breast health programs across Connecticut, and the remaining 25% is invested in research to find the causes and cures for the disease.

Get involved in supporting the Westport Race for the Cure! For additional information and to register, visit KomenCT.org or call 860-321-7806.