Komen Global Race for the Cure preparations underway

(WJLA) - This is the race to the start, with dozens of mic checks, hundreds of signs, and 15,000 runner packets.

Zebada Brown is Chief Cheerleader for “Team Pam.”

“We're gonna make it a celebration of her life,” she says. Gwinetta Davis’ aunt Pam died of breast cancer just one month ago.

"I miss her every time I think about her; my sons are her nephews; it's emotional," says Davis.

Finding that balance between remembering loved ones and celebrating survivors is the true race day challenge.

"My aunt is a survivor, but we lost a colleague who was 29 years old and we think about her all the time," explains race manager Ali FInkel.

In the shadow of the symbol of Washington, they also think about D.C. women’s breast cancer mortality rate – the highest in the nation.

"We can provide better screening, better access, and when there's a diagnosis of an abnormality on a mammogram, women need to go right into treatment," says Dr. Judy Salerno, CEO of the Komen Foundation.

Seventy-five-percent of all the funds raised on Saturday will benefit patients in the Washington region.

"It's crazy to be so close to the Capitol -- and here we have one of the hardest battles to fight," says Finkel.