Run, walk to raise funds for American Cancer Society

Run, walk to raise funds for American Cancer Society

(Oct. 17, 2014) More than 1,000 runners and walkers donning pink took to the boards this time last year for Ocean City’s annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk and Run.

Approximately 800 walkers hit the Boardwalk for Ocean City’s third annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K event last year. About 180 runners took off from the starting line in the inlet parking lot shortly before the walk began.

The fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer research and programs raised $160,000, said Event Chair Beverly Furst, who expects an even bigger event Saturday.

“This year, we were aiming for about $200,000,” she said.

The resort’s fourth annual Making Strides 5K launches tomorrow morning, from the inlet parking lot. Walkers and runners can sign up in advance or the morning of the event starting at 7:30 a.m. at the inlet lot, Furst said.

“They can come down, they can make a donation, they can buy an event T-shirt,” she said. “We invite everybody to come down and support the event.”

Though it’s the fourth year the 5K bears the Making Strides name, the event itself began in Ocean City more than a decade ago as part of the Pink Ribbon Classic, a series of local events to raise breast cancer awareness while garnering money for the ACS.

“It was just called the Pink Ribbon Walk and Run,” said Furst, who organized the inaugural event.

Back then, it took place midtown along Coastal Highway and brought out about 300 locals, she said.

Jump ahead to 2010, when the American Cancer Society approached Furst about making Ocean City’s one of more than 300 Making Strides walks across the country, which raise more than $60 million for the ACS each year.

“It’s really brought the exposure to the event,” Furst said, creating a “destination-type of event where people could come and spend the weekend, run or walk, visit the Boardwalk and visit local stores and restaurants.”

With nearly 500 participants already registered at press time and more than $70,000 pledged, the event is living up to those expectations.

Ocean City’s Making Strides 5K run kicks off at 9 a.m., followed by the walk at 9:30 a.m. Both routes take participants up the Boardwalk from the inlet.

The run will be timed with medals awarded for the first, second and third place winners in each age division, divided by males and females. The top fundraisers will also received awards.

At the inlet, there will be a survivors’ tent where those who have battled breast cancer can gather for camaraderie.

“We really want to honor and support them,” Furst said.

The opening ceremony will include singing by committee member and survivor Sheryl Mitrecic and a welcome from Mayor Rick Meehan before events kick off.

“It’s very uplifting down there and very community-minded. It’s a feel-good event,” Furst said. “You fee like you’re doing something good for the community — something even bigger than the community. You’re helping finish the fight against breast cancer.”

While some money raised through the Making Strides Walk and Run and other Pink Ribbon Classic events goes toward national breast cancer research, the remainder stays on the Eastern Shore, where it is used for education projects, patient programs, and services.

Some of the local programs include free wigs for patients; the Look Good Feel Better program, which teaches patients how to cope with the cosmetic side-effects of treatment; Reach to Recovery, a one-on-one support visitation program by trained breast cancer survivors for new patients; Road to Recovery, a transportation service for patients to and from cancer treatments; Hope Lodge, which provides lodging during treatment; the Patient Navigator Program, which helps patients navigate the health care system; Cancer Survivors Network; and a 24-hour-a-day cancer information center — all free services.

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women, except for skin cancer, and is the second-leading cause of cancerous death in women, according to the ACS. One in two women newly diagnosed with the disease reaches out to the ACS for help and support.

To learn more about the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345.

For more information on Ocean City’s Making Strides 5K or to register in advance, visit

www.makingstrideswalk.org/oceancitymd.

Register the morning of the race, tomorrow, from 7:30-9 a.m. at the inlet lot. Walkers participate for free. Runners pay $45 the day of the race for the timed 5K, a Making Strides T-shirt and a chance to win medals.

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