By Hannah Heimbuch
Special to the Homer Tribune
When pink flags start flying along Homer’s shop fronts, it’s time to break out the running shoes.
The 19th-annual breast cancer run will kick off Aug. 18 at 11 a.m. at Bishop’s Beach. Sponsored by the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic, this run/walk/stroll is a fundraiser to support breast cancer screening and women’s health services in Homer.
More than 2.7 million women in the United States have a history of breast cancer; one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. Funds donated by runners and sponsoring businesses go to support women in our community through early detection and wellness services.
“Early detection is absolutely key,” said Heather O’Connor, Director of KBFPC. “Mammograms can help detect breast cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage; at times up to a year and a half before the woman can actually feel the lump herself.”
The clinic and its many volunteers and supporters come together to advocate for early detection and awareness of a disease that affects our families, friends and neighbors every day. They welcome Homer and nearby community members through run participation, sponsorship and donation, asking you to join in an effort to save lives and honor loved ones under Alaska’s summer sun.
The run is just the beginning. Runners and walkers will return to Bishops Beach to Shamwari’s marimba rhythms, then help us celebrate a great cause with fantastic food donated from local eateries. Runners will also be eligible to win a huge variety of prizes donated from local businesses.
Runner registration is a suggested $35 tax-deductible donation. Participants who donate at that level will receive will receive a light pink marabou boa, and for $55 a hot pink feather boa. Runners are encouraged to generate sponsors, which will enter them in a raffle for a host of prizes. Registration and sponsorship donations are tax deductible.
“All the proceeds from the 19th-annual breast cancer run stay local,” O’Connor said. “The proceeds are used to help ensure access to breast cancer screening services for women right here in our community. It also builds awareness of the importance of early detection. The event helps our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our friends — right here in the southern Kenai Peninsula area.”
Part of providing those screening and diagnostic services, O’Connor said, is ensuring women have access to wellness visits by keeping the door open to all.
“Generosity from individuals in our community allows us to be flexible in how we serve clients,” she said. “It enables us to really meet the client where the client is. We take pride in being able to serve everyone in our community — regardless of ability to pay.”
KBFPC numbers indicated that the clinic provided 634 breast exams and 209 mammograms last year, both essential tools for early detection.
“Early detection is key to a good prognosis and high survival rates,” O’Connor said, a cause she looks forward to supporting at the August run and post-run celebration. “As the new executive director for KBFPC, this will be my first time participating, and I’m thrilled to take part in this Homer tradition that’s been going on for 19 years. It really speaks to the generosity of our community and its commitment to support our sisters, our aunts, our mothers, our friends — all the women we love.”
Register to run online at kbfpc.org or email a form to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also register to run or sponsor by contacting the clinic at 3959 Ben Walters Lane, or by calling 235-3436.
Day-of registration and bib pick-up will start at Bishop’s Beach at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 18, and go until 10:30 a.m. The race starts at 11 a.m.
To become a business sponsor, call 299-4018. Businesses receive a pink flag to hang outside their business for each $100 donated. All participating businesses will be mentioned and thanked for their support at the event. Those purchasing two flags will have their businesses linked to and publicized from our social media outlets, as well as having their logo featured 8.5” by 11” at the event. Those purchasing three flags will have their logo featured 17” by 11” at the start/finish.
If you have any questions, or need any additional information, call Hannah at 299-4018, or the clinic at 235-3436.
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