Long before sunrise in Atlanta at 7:32 a.m. on Saturday morning October 2, the area around McDonough Field was buzzing with activity as volunteers in orange t-shirts made final preparations to welcome more than 1,500 in-person runners and runners. hundreds more virtually. at the 11th edition Winship Win the 5K Run / Walk fight.
The 2021 race was Winship’s very first hybrid event, offering both a live race and a virtual experience. The virtual event started on September 25 and continued through to the live race on October 2 to provide the most opportunities for participants to register. A website at winship5k.emory.edu provided information to donate and participate in the race. QR codes were also used to provide quick links to information.
In its first 10 years, the race raised over $ 6.5 million to support cancer research at the Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University. This year’s goal was to raise $ 800,000 — exceeded even before the start of the race to $ 806,480 or more.
“It has been a pleasure and a joy to watch this evolve and develop over the years,” said Gail Grimmett, the new vice chair of the Winship advisory board. Grimmett in a video prepared ahead of the live event said she has been involved with Winship 5K since its inception. Grimmett has seen participation evolve from his initial two or three sponsors – “such a small event,” Grimmett said – to the full range of sponsors and teams who participated in 2021 to raise funds. “I can’t tell you how important it is to have our sponsors, team members and captains here,” said Grimmett.
Like many 5K participants, Grimmett’s life was changed by cancer when her husband was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and eventually died. “But I assure you,” said Grimmett, “we’ve had more years because of the care and access to research he received at Winship.”
Expanding and accessing that research is precisely what Winship 5K was created to do. But moving from a place of excellence to eminence as a recognized destination for cancer prevention, treatment, research and survival, requires dedicated supporters like those who participate in Winship 5K.
“Put simply,” said Irene Hammer-McLaughlin, executive director of development at Winship, “Winship is uniquely positioned to develop treatments and cures.” Speaking to the sponsors, teams and participants, she added: “We can’t do it without you.”
Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD, executive director of Winship, said in a pre-recorded greeting, “The funds we raise through Winship 5K go directly to support research at the Winship Cancer Institute. We are supporting exciting and promising new ideas that are aimed at improving the lives of people with cancer. ”He noted that the funds are also helping Winship recruit top scientists and doctors across the country and have also supported the seeking outstanding professors in Winship 5K Chairs. “Ultimately,” said Ramalingam, “our goal is to discover cures for cancer and to inspire hope in people.”
CoMan Allgood, a cancer survivor and former Winship patient, was planning to compete in his first Winship 5K live with his wife Kathie on the team they call “It’s All Good.” Allgood, a life coach who prior to his diagnosis had run marathons and half marathons, said when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2019 he insisted on being taken to the Winship Cancer Institute. After his doctor Emory told him “I’m the best in the country” for treating Allgood’s rare stomach tumor, Allgood said he knew he was in the right place. “He removed my tumor and I am cancer free,” he said. “I’m alive today because of him.”
To the other runners, Allgood offered this message. “You might not know the impact you have on cancer survivors, and I was one of them,” he said. “” But this 5K is helping find a cure. Thank you to everyone who participated in the fundraising to find a cure for this serious illness. “
Running with “Lungs’ n Roses”, the team that his late wife Erica formed in 2016 with another lung cancer survivor, Don Aronin said their daughters and other members of their team have raised over 60 $ 000 for this year’s Winship 5K. “Erica and I strongly believed that Erica had a better and longer life because of the quality of care at Winship,” said Aronin. “It’s personal to me, very personal.”
It had been a cloudy gray morning since the hour when day first broke on the Emory campus on Saturday morning. So it seemed more than a coincidence when the sun broke through the clouds as the runners began to finish the race. “Happy to see you again!” said the announcer at the finish line. The crowd cheered particularly loudly as they proclaimed: “Survivor crossing the finish line!”