Tracey Downy and her family embraced the commitment of "Strength Not Surrender" at the Mother's Day Classic when she crossed the finish line at Stuart Park on Sunday.
The Corrimal woman was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer in December and is halfway through chemotherapy treatment.
"I have triple-negative breast cancer so there's an 18-month to four-year recurrence rate," Mrs Downy said.
"It's life and you can't change it. I know eight people who've been diagnosed with breast cancer in the past two years in our area. We support and help each other."
With her four children by her side, the 41-year-old said she had decided to spend her special day raising awareness and funds for a breast cancer cure rather than have breakfast in bed.
The more money raised now, the better the chance of a cure in future, Mrs Downy said.
"That's what I want for my children: a cure for breast cancer by the time they are adults."
In a sea of pink, 3000 people took part in the two-kilometre and five-kilometre run or walk at North Wollongong, which raised about $80,000 for the research arm of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It is hoped the national event will raise almost $20 million.
Illawarra ambassador Dr Margaret Gardiner, who was diagnosed with breast cancer more than a decade ago, said the day brought plenty of courage, emotion and hope.
"The meaning of the event will never be lost." Dr Gardiner said.
"I see the same exquisite courage year after year as people share and remember their stories.
"More money for research means ... someone else's mother won't die from breast cancer."
The money raised will go towards investigating the efficacy of 3D breast screening, improving chemotherapy effectiveness, developing new drugs and preventing the spread of cancer to the bone.