COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — It was a sea of pink as the West Central Georgia Cancer Coalition (WCGCC) hosted their 14th annual Paint the Town Pink 5k race in Downtown Columbus on Friday.

Nearly one thousand people gathered at Woodruff Park for a night of celebration, survivorship, and fundraising in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Before the race kicked off, organizers held a brief ceremony.

A standing ovation echoed throughout the park as each breast cancer survivor walked to the main stage holding a sign with the amount of years cancer free. Columbus resident, VJ Roberts is 13 years cancer free. She considers herself a “thriver,” saying she’s walking for a greater purpose.

I’m walking for all the people that I know who didn’t survive and those who have survived. I want to let them know I care about them, what happens to them and I want them to just fight. So my story is always to try to live your best life and just enjoy the process. Even though it may sound difficult, each day is just such a blessing

VJ Roberts, 13 year breast cancer survivor

The proceeds from the event will be poured right back into the community. The event benefits the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Cancer Assistance Fund. The fund was established to assist those in the community who have been diagnosed with cancer and are currently receiving treatment like chemotherapy or radiation.