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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Thousands of people made strides against breast cancer in downtown Miami.

Bayfront Park turned into a sea of pink Saturday morning as the 21st annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure got underway.

“We’ve had such an amazing response from the community,” said Nathalie Bruk, the organization’s executive director, who said about 10,000 people were in attendance.

Runners and walkers alike donned pink in support, many of whom were survivors of breast cancer themselves. Others,

“Every year, when I have a chance to be out here with my sister survivors, it’s hard to describe how unifying and empowering it is,” said Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who overcame breast cancer nine years ago. “Cancer is such an isolating experience, and when you come here each year for the Komen Race for the Cure, we have an opportunity to really lock arms and focus on what our ultimate goal is, which is to find a cure and help women survive.”

Wasserman Schultz was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 41. She had undergone surgery while writing a bill in legislation.

“I went through seven surgeries in a year. And it was a year of hell,” she said. “But I knew when I came through on the other side that I wanted to use my ability to help people to make a difference. And I passed a law called the Early Act, the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act. It helped raise awareness, it’s a national awareness and campaign targeting young women and women at higher risk, like I am. I carry the BRCA gene, which made it much more likely, five times more likely, that I would eventually get breast cancer and ovarian cancer. So early detection saved my life and that’s what these efforts are all about.”

The experience comes with advice for women everywhere.

“Pay attention to your breast health and encourage the women in your lives to pay attention to their breast health. Do self exams, get your regular clinical exams from your doctor, and make sure you know what’s normal for you so you know when something feels different. Make your early detection more likely.”