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Gift of Life Color Run draws over 6,300 participants
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
Pink powder covered downtown Beaumont today. This month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and over 6,300 people ran, walked, or jogged the Gift of Life's 5K Color Run.
Some ran for a love one affected by cancer, others survived cancer and ran to celebrate.
"We walked today in honor of our friend Kathy Clark, she's a breast cancer survivor," said Shanna Clark, hugging Kathy Clark's shoulder.
Kathy Clark's daughter, Cassidy Clark, was by her side as well.
"It means so much to me that she's still here, and she survived," said Cassidy, after her mother leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
For Tena Elliott, this race is also personal.
"I had a sister that passed away at 29 from ovarian, and then I got breast cancer," said Elliott. "And I just finished my treatments in December, so I just thought I should do it. It means a lot."
Patty Stephens ran for her grandma.
"I'm running because of my grandmother over in Europe," said Stephens. "She was able to beat breast cancer, so I figured I could run a 5K for her."
The Gift of Life's Executive Director, Norma Sampson, said they've never experienced such a tremendous turnout.
"We were hoping that this year with this kind of attraction, the color run, the first in Southeast Texas, we hoped that it would encourage younger people in a greater number to participate, and it certainly did."
It certainly convinced young Kimberly Gann to participate.
"Because I saw the pretty colors and I thought it would be fun to have it all thrown at me," laughed Gann.
Gift of Life is a local organization that benefits Southeast Texas women. This funds raised from the Color Run will help many of its programs.
"This benefits the Gift of Life's breast and ovarian cancer educational programs," said Sampson. "It also fuels so many of our other initiatives, from our free mammograms, our diagnostic testing, and our case management."
The Gift of Life's free medical services are for un-insured women.
"We know how important it is," said Sampson, "that one life that we save could be your mother, your sister, someone that you love."
A nurse, Shannon Burnett, said she sees women struggle with breast cancer all the time.
"I figure if they can go through something as difficult as that, then I can run a 5K and support them," said Burnett.
The Gift of Life's next and final event for Breast Cancer Awareness Month wil be held on Thursday, October 24, at Capital One Downtown. It's a seminar titled "Breast Cancer: An Individualized Disease." It starts at 12:00p.m. and teaches the signs and symptoms of cancer. A seminar will be held at 5:40p.m. for medical professionals.
For more information about Gift of Life, visit:www.giftoflifebmt.org .