Last weekend, Bryan and I walked the Race for Hope 5K in Philadelphia. We’ve participated in the event since 2011, which supports the National Brain Tumor Society. In 2011, I ran the 5K. In 2012, we registered and couldn’t find parking downtown so we had to come home early. In 2013, we volunteered at the set up and registration desk. In 2014, we volunteered to hand out waters to runners and walkers. This year, we walked together and it was probably my favorite event yet.
Why do we participate? After Bryan and I graduated from college, we wanted to find an organization that was special to us to donate to every year. We knew we wanted to donate to a cancer organization, and started doing some research online. My mom passed away from metastatic brain tumors (cancer that starts elsewhere and travels to the brain) in 2007, so we were most interested in the National Brain Tumor Society. The organization hosts events like the Race for Hope in order to raise funds to advance research and public policy, improve the availability of new and better treatments, and provide support for families coping with the effects of a brain tumor diagnosis.
Here’s a recap of this year’s event:
We were able to find parking in a designated lot about a mile away from the Art Museum, so we arrived at the event earlier than past years. The extra time gave us the opportunity to walk around, meet the sponsors, check out the team t-shirts displayed on the “Wall of Shirts,” snack on bananas and granola bars, and drink coffee. Breakfast of champions! Staff members from a local radio station got the crowd pumped up by playing country music.
In past years, Bryan and I never gathered around the stage to listen to the pre-race speeches. This year we did and boy was it tough. A few individuals gave speeches, including a brain cancer survivor. Participants were asked to look up in the sky and pay tribute to loved ones who lost to brain tumors and honor those who are currently fighting. I got very emotional at this point – and even writing this is making me teary eyed.
The walk itself was great too. It felt so amazing to be surrounded by such positivity. Participants were chanting and cheering as they passed each mile mark, and a crowd of supporters applauded as we neared the finish line. We can’t wait for next year!
To find an event in your area and get more information about donating, visit the National Brain Tumor Society website.