Nevada City triathlon and 5K run/walk serves as inspiration during woman’s fight |

Nevada City triathlon and 5K run/walk serves as inspiration during woman’s fight

Amy Abt
Submitted to The Union

In January 2015, Penn Valley resident Deborah Corrick was performing a routine breast self-exam when she felt a lump.

After rushing to make a doctor's appointment, the 51-year-old mother of one was sent to the Women's Imaging Center at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital for a mammogram.

An ultrasound was performed, as well as a biopsy. Within the course of a few days, Corrick was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer and began a series of meetings with oncologists who would help determine a treatment plan.

During what she describes as one of the most stressful and frightening days of her life, Corrick spent her time in between tests reading material found in the Women's Imaging Center. One story, in particular stood out to her: the story of Barbara Schmidt Millar and the Barbara Schmidt Millar Celebration of Life Triathlon and 5K Run/Walk.

“I would encourage anyone who is going through cancer to look for help and support.”

— Deborah Corrick

Inspired to get involved

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Millar, a Nevada County resident, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, which she beat before later dying from sarcoma of the brachial plexus. In her memory, a group of Millar's friends created the triathlon to honor her life, fund mammograms for women in need at the Women's Imaging Center and provide scholarships to Nevada Union High School female students headed into the health-care industry. The event is hosted by the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation, a philanthropic organization charged with ensuring quality health care for the hospital.

Millar's story and the story of the event inspired Corrick to serve on the triathlon and committee.

"I felt so many other women would benefit from the awareness and fundraising this event does to fight breast cancer in our community," said Corrick.

Corrick said she knew all too well the dangers of cancer after her husband passed away from the disease in 2012. Thanks to her routine breast self-exams and being proactive after noticing a change in her body, Corrick has been able to successfully battle breast cancer — a disease one out of every eight women in the United States will battle — for almost three years.

In 2016, Corrick, convinced her daughter Kayla, a freshman in college at Sonoma State University, to participate in the 5K Run/Walk portion of the triathlon event. Corrick wanted to share the experience and help drive home the importance of self-examination and overall breast cancer awareness.

"I think that early detection is key, "said Corrick. "The sooner breast cancer is caught, the better. Make time for self-examinations, be proactive."

She also credits her faith in God for getting her through some of the darkest times that often follow a cancer diagnosis.

Youth movement

Corrick says that she is particularly excited for this year's event because the age limit for participation in the 5K Run/Walk has been extended to girls age 13 and up. Women under 18 years old will need their race waivers signed by a parent or legal guardian. Triathlon participation, including participation on a team, is still only open to women 18 and older.

"It's great that the age limit has been dropped so that young girls can support their family members and loved ones and not feel excluded," said Corrick.

For Corrick and many other women swimming, biking, running and walking their way through Cascade Shores in Nevada City every September provides a deep sense of camaraderie and serves as a reminder that although cancer does exist, it can be beaten through education, outreach and early detection.

"I would encourage anyone who is going through cancer to look for help and support," said Corrick. "There are a lot of resources in our community that I wish I had taken advantage of. It's important to let people help you and to realize you are not alone."

Corrick is currently considered "cancer free," but will continue taking medication and going in for bi-annual oncologist visits until June 2020. In her spare time, she loves to run and has been an avid runner since high school. She is part of a local running club called Gilligan's Hilligains and participates in several community races, including the Barbara Schmidt Millar 5K Run/Walk. In November 2015, she finished her first half marathon.

"Running is very important to me because there were times when I was going through radiation that I was too sick to even go for a walk," said Corrick. "Now, every time I run, I feel like I beat cancer."

Registration for this event is still open. Participants can sign up 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Outpatient Center (Building 3) in rooms 120/130, or on the day of the event between 7-8:30 a.m.

For more information, visit

Source: Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation


What: 2017 Barbara Schmidt Millar Celebration of Life Triathlon and 5K Run/Walk

When: 9 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 17 (registration open 7-8:30 a.m.)

Where: Scotts Flat Lake boat ramp in Cascade Shores


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