By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
The seasons are changing and Halloween is fast approaching. As Halloween draws closer, an event in Edgecombe County will have people running for their life, for a good cause.
“Run For Your Life” is a 5K and 1-mile fun run to raise money for the Edgecombe Cancer Support Foundation. The event will be held in Tarboro on Oct. 26 beginning at 9 a.m.
“It’s called Run For Your Life because it’s going to be a Halloween-themed event,” said Erin Grimsley, member of the board of directors for the Edgecombe Cancer Support Foundation.
“There’s going to be a costume contest for kids and adults,” said Dr. Mark Petruzziello, chair of the foundation’s board of directors.
Those wearing the best Halloween costumes will win prizes.
Grimsley and Petruzziello both emphasized that the event will be “family-friendly.” Exhibitors at the race will offer health and wellness information to attendees. The run/ walk is for everyone from avid, competitive runners to casual walkers. Strollers are allowed in the 1-mile fun run only. The 5K will be timed, with medal awards given to runners with the fastest times at the end.
The scenic route might take runners and walkers down paths they’ve never traveled.
“The race will be half asphalt and partly on a trail,” Grimsley said.
The 5K will begin at the Town Common and go down Saint David Street, through a nature trail on Panola and the surrounding Panola Farms. Along with the natural surroundings, runners will also come across signs in honor or in memory of loved ones. The signs will be sold prior to the event for $25 each.
“Cancer has a special place in most people’s hearts,” Grimsley said.
The mission of the Edgecombe Cancer Support Foundation is to financially assist cancer patients in the county. The foundation just got its 501(c)(3) status and Run For Your Life will be the foundation’s first major fundraiser.
“Cancer is now the No. 1 leading cause of death in Edgecombe County,” Petruzziello said. “We’re above average in our cancer incidence rates.”
Petruzziello and his wife Pat, brainchild and director of the run/ walk, could think of no better way to raise awareness of cancer than to get the community involved in a healthy event to raise funds for cancer patients.
Petruzziello said the foundation wants to ease the “financial burden” of having cancer.
“Being diagnosed with cancer is like having an individual natural disaster. Patients are faced with hardships including financial stress,” states the mission on the Edgecombbe Cancer Support Foundation’s blog spot. “The people of Edgecombe County wish to help their friends and neighbors and want to help make that fight for survival a little easier.
“Twenty-one percent of the county is not insured,” Petruzziello said.
He said often those who are insured still have out-of-pocket expenses to pay – everything from co-pays at doctor’s offices and travel expenses back and forth to doctor’s visits to the cost of medications.
All the money the foundation raises helps local cancer patients.
“It’s not based on financial need. You just have to have cancer (and be) getting treatment,” Petruzziello said.
Petruzziello and Grimsley are optimistic about the turnout for the foundation’s upcoming fundraiser, “Run For Your Life,” and said they have seen “great support from the community to help plan and coordinate the event.”
Vidant Edgecombe Hospital is the premier sponsor for the “Run for Your Life” 5K and Providence Bank is the premier sponsor for the fun run. The cost of registration is $25 for the 5K and $15 for the fun run.
To register for Run For Your Life online, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.eventbrite.com/org/3812782953" www.eventbrite.com/org/3812782953. For more information, visit HYPERLINK "http://www.runforyourlife.wix/com/runforyourlife" www.runforyourlife.wix/com/runforyourlife.
Applications for assistance from the Edgecombe Cancer Support Foundation are available at Vidant Oncology-Tarboro and in Petruzziello’s office at Vidant Multispecialty Clinic.