On Saturday, runners and walkers at the Hoosiers Outrun Cancer event finished the 13th annual race with the best performance yet in terms of donations and participation, said Chris Molloy, president of the Bloomington Hospital Foundation.
“We had over 5,500 participants this year, about 300 more people than last year,” he said. “We had so many great teams and volunteers that really helped, including more intermediate and high school teams.”
The hospital foundation and IU Athletics sponsor the event each year.
The event took place at Memorial Stadium and had a children’s one-mile race, a one-mile family walk, a 5k run/walk and 5k walk.
Before the races began, the foundation provided a ceremony for cancer survivors in
The race course started at the stadium and wove through campus, traveling on Indiana Avenue, crossing to Jordan Avenue, venturing around Armstrong Stadium and back to Memorial Stadium.
The event was funded and supported by volunteers and sponsors, including corporations such as Premier Healthcare, German American, Joan Olcott and Boston Scientific.
“Anybody who gets diagnosed with cancer, nobody wants to hear that,” said Kayla Chitty, a Premier Healthcare volunteer. “If you do not hear that, then giving back to the community who helps others is a great way to show how much you care. It is a hard thing to deal with for a person and their family.”
Many walkers and runners were motivated by a loved one who survived cancer or is still battling the disease.
J.C. Hulls, the father of two IU athletes, shared his story of being diagnosed with cancer and working with the IU Healthcare Center.
“I was diagnosed on Wednesday and in surgery on Friday,” Hulls said to the crowd. “You may not always like what you’re going through, but it is what you’re in, and that makes you stronger in the end.”
Numerous teams helped fund the event, including one from Bloomington High School North, which was the largest team overall with more than 600 participants.
The largest health organization in the race was Kelley Runs for Walt, a Kelley School of Business team created in memory of Walt Blacconiere, a professor who passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2007.
Another team ran and walked for Jenny Suhr, past chapter president of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
“We come every year and run for Jenny,” said Paige Nichols, a member of Kappa. “She died of brain cancer years ago. We try to get a lot of people to run in her memory.”
Other sponsors helped set up the event. Indiana Running Company provided the timing systems.
With the help of sponsors, volunteers and participants during the last 13 years, the Hoosiers Outrun Cancer committee has raised more than $2 million for the Olcott Center for Cancer Education in Bloomington.
“We will continue to get checks through next year,” Molloy said. “So many people donate, and we have great teams and committees to help the cause. We could not do it without them.”
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