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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - One step at a time. That's the way we approach life's greatest challenges.

Never has that been more true for Kim Jaeger.

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January," said the mother of 5-year-old Micah and 13-month-old Josiah, who she pushed in front of her. "I found my lump nursing this little guy in the stroller here."

On Sunday, Jaeger joined tens of thousands of others at the Susan G. Koman Twin Cities Race for the Cure.

"Breast cancer is not on your radar in your 30s," said Jaeger, still in the midst of her treatment.

Her husband Greg walked a few feet behind, with Micah on his shoulders. "I told her when we first started, I'd be with her always, every step of it."

Shelly Anderson's mother, Gloria McLean, joined the Mother's Day tradition when she brought three members of her family to the Race for the Cure in 2003. This year more than 40 walked for McLean, who passed away two-and-a-half years ago.

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"She would love it that we're still doing it," said Anderson, whose group helped fundraise for the event. "We hope that our daughters don't have to deal with what she had to deal with."

Many walked with their moms close by. "This is my mom's 15 years of survival," said Laurie Loomis proudly, as she hugged her mother, Judy Loomis. "She's doing great," she proclaimed, to a chorus of cheers.

Maria Thomas of Minneapolis is now in the midst of her second breast cancer fight, just after her own mother finished her treatment.

"It was a shock and then my mom had just got over breast cancer, so for me to get it again, it was just like wow."

Thomas will finish chemotherapy in August. "I'm all right," Thomas said. "I'm walking in my healing right now."

Lynn Osterman of New Hope surveyed the sea of people. "Look at that," she said. "This is so inspiring."

Osterman and her sister walked for Sue Moran, one of her sister's best friends. "She's walked with us for years and she's not here this year," said Osterman. "She's been an angel since last August."

Race for the Cure is a series of small steps, propelled by big hearts.

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