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Racers compete to fight cancer

Maggie Dunn | Monday, October 2, 2006

Almost 200 runners and walkers sweated through the 13th annual Saint Mary’s Oktoberfest 5K run/3K walk to help raise money for breast cancer Sunday afternoon.

The event’s 186 participants – ranging from Saint Mary’s cross-country runners to breast cancer survivors themselves – raised approximately $3,650 for the cause. While everyone walked or ran to raise money and awareness, many also had personal reasons.

“My boyfriend’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when we were both in high school,” Saint Mary’s junior Rocky Krivda said. “So I think this is a great opportunity to support the cause and be healthy at the same time.”

Another runner, junior Kristina Ramos, noted that Sunday was “respect life” Sunday in the Catholic Church.

“It’s a reminder to honor all forms of life,” she said.

The top three runners and top three walkers received free T-shirts that came in donated Saks Fifth Avenue bags. The top 13 runners also received free Saks bags.

Saint Mary’s softball coach Erin Sullivan, who directed the fundraiser, said prior to the event that she expected it to be more successful this year for a number of reasons. Holding the event on a Sunday instead of a Monday, as it had been for roughly the past five years, makes it easier for people to find time to come out and participate. Sullivan also pointed to the improved publicity, which she thinks generated a lot of interest.

Finally and most notably, event planners sought out corporations to sponsor the event.

The Saint Mary’s Inn sponsored the whole run/walk, and Barnaby’s and Factory Tile Inc. sponsored the start and finish line. Sullivan said the corporate sponsors alone almost exceeded last year’s total profit of approximately $2,170 even before the actual fundraiser took place.

The money raised came from individual donations, the sponsors, the ten-dollar T-shirts and the raffle ticket profits. The raffle included about 20 different prizes ranging from gift certificates for local restaurants and an iTunes gift card to a fragrance basket from Saks worth over one hundred dollars and the Deluxe Nike Plus kit for runners.

All proceeds from Oktoberfest will go to the local Young Survivors breast cancer support group to help pay for various things, such as mammograms for uninsured women between the ages of 40 and 49, or the care package that the group gives to newly diagnosed women.

Head of the Young Survivors group and breast cancer survivor Kim Zobrosky spoke at the race, explaining that the group aims to educate through awareness and support each other throughout treatment to get back to living a normal life. At the end of her speech, she thanked everyone who put together and participated in Oktoberfest.

“As someone who’s been there, I truly know what your kindness means,” Zobrosky said.