The former Ocean Pines resident returns to the Shore for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Michael Jessup considers the five years he lived on the Eastern Shore to be among the very best of his life. From 1998 to 2003, the Towson native worked as Salisbury University’s director of Annual Programs, and while doing so, lived in Ocean Pines and directed the Cadillac Invitational golf tournament, which benefited the National Kidney Foundation.
Jessup, now the executive director of Susan G. Komen Maryland, returns to the resort April 14 for the organization’s popular Ocean City Race for the Cure. The 7th annual event is expected to welcome more than 1,400 participants and has been the largest charitable 5K at the beach since its inception in 2012. Through fundraising events like Race for the Cure, Komen Maryland has invested nearly $5 million into local programs that provide access to screening, treatment and support for those who have been impacted by breast cancer.
Data substantiates that Maryland’s Eastern Shore has steep inequities in breast cancer incidence and mortality rates, especially among minority populations. Four Eastern Shore counties (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester) have been identified as priority areas for Komen Maryland, based on income levels, mammography rates, breast cancer death rates and increases in late-stage diagnoses.
According to its 2015 Community Profile, Komen Maryland found that in Dorchester County, among women age 40 and older, a 9.3 percent annual increase in late-stage diagnosis rates was reported.
Somerset County has the second-lowest median income, and 14.8 percent of its population lives in poverty, correlating to a high need for mammograms. In Wicomico County, among women age 40 and older, 10.3 percent never had a mammogram, the second-highest percentage in Maryland, and 14.6 percent reported it had been two or more years since they’d had one.
In Worcester County, among women age 40 and older, 20.8 percent reported it had been two or more years since they had a mammogram, the highest percentage in Maryland. It ranked fourth statewide for breast cancer death rates and has seen a 6.1 percent annual increase in late-stage diagnosis rates.
Komen Maryland has a long history of supporting breast health programs that serve Eastern Shore residents, and it currently provides funding to the Wicomico County Health Department, Maintaining Active Citizens (MAC) and Moveable Feast, among many others.
Race for the Cure is a 5K recreational run/walk. Registration starts at 7 a.m., while the Race Village opens at 7:30 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. for both runners and walkers. The course travels up the Boardwalk to 18th Street, turns around and continues back to the Inlet. Afterward, other events will include a Survivor Parade and dance party.
“We can accomplish so much by raising funds on the Eastern Shore and investing in programs that serve local residents,” Jessup said. “Susan G. Komen’s mission is to find the cures for breast cancer, but it’s also about providing real-time help to women who are living with the disease.”
To register, donate, volunteer or for the 7th annual Ocean City Race for the Cure, visit www.komenmd.org/oceancity.
Michael is a excellent cook and talented grill master. While living in Ocean Pines, he prepared his famous smoked brisket for 12 friends. Michael smoked the massive 23-lb cut of beef for more than 19 hours!
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