The annual Pink Army Run from AdventHealth Palm Coast through parts of Town Center, an event designed to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness Month and raise money to underwrite mammograms, has been a tradition for a decade: this year was going to mark its 10th anniversary.
It’ll be held again. But in deference to safety in the age of the coronavirus, and like so much else hampered by the virus, it’ll be somewhat virtual and mostly autonomous. While the event’s anchors will kick it off with an hour-long program on the radio–The Beach FM, 92.7, and WNZF–residents across the county are encouraged to take part by creating their own walk, their own run, their own 5K anywhere of their choosing.
Since this is still a fund-raiser, the registration process is no different than in previous years.
And just as with the in-person event, it’ll all start with an hour-long radio kick-off starting at 7:30 a.m., and hosted by John Subers, executive director of the AdventHealth Palm Coast Foundation, Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland, and County Commissioner Charlie Ericksen, who has been involved in the Pink Army since its inception, and who is ending his eight-year tenure on the County Commission next month. In previous years, he’d take part in the run usually on his bike.
“It’s better than nothing,” Ericksen said of the virtual approach, “the attention and enlightenment of the people just getting together once a year to remember those who passed before us, my mother being one of them, for breast cancer, and trying to reduce that number so that we don’t lose women like that. It’s not fun watching a mother die in front of you.” Ericksen’s mother was just 65.
The Pink Army run in Palm Coast has raised $150,000 over the years, its equivalents across the AdventHealth network have combined for a sum approaching $1 million, much of it aimed at defraying the costs of mammograms, which are crucial early-detection diagnoses of breast cancer: the earlier the detection, the higher the chances of survival for those struck by a cancer that affects one in eight women, with some 276,000 cases diagnosed in women in a given year, and 2,600 cases in men. Over 42,000 women die of breast cancer each year in the United States–a number greater than the number of people who die by gunshot, in car crashes, by infections, by accidental falls, or because of Parkinson’s.
The radio show will include physicians from AdventHealth who’ll discuss the latest science. There’s been “huge progress” in battling the disease, Dr. Stephen Bickel, the medical director at the Flagler and Volusia Health Departments, said this morning on WNZF, where Subers also discussed the event. “It used to be quite often a fatal illness. The last time I checked I think the death rate was something like one-tenth of the case rate.” Progress, he said, is in large part “due to screening, a lot of it due to dramatic improvements in treatment.”
Money raised locally will be used locally for early detection screenings, wellness and lifestyle resources, and survivorship education programs to support those impacted by breast cancer.
Subers spoke of the radio lineup: “Laura Z and I, Charlie Ericksen, Mayor Holland, and we’ll have some guests call in from out in the field,” he said. “It’s trying to connect everybody that has signed up to download the [WNZF] app, listen to The Beach, 7:30-8:30, we’re going to have the National Anthem, do as much as we usually do, being on site in front of the hospital, but we’re just going to do it virtually. It’s certainly going to be a big social media event where pictures will be thrown around, and it’ll just be a lot of fun. We thought with an hour’s radio show we could connect everybody, talk about breast cancer, we have some clinical doctors on to give the scientific side, and the clinical side. It’ll be a lot of fun.”
Register for the Pink on Parade 5K online at www.pinkonparade.com. There are two levels of virtual race registration:
- The standard registration for $20 per person offers a virtual race packet which includes a digital race bib, certificate of completion, start/finish and mile marker signs, a training guide, sponsor discounts and coupons, access to the music playlist, and race maps.
- The premium registration for $40 per person offers a race packet mailed to your home with branded Pink on Parade 5K race bib, medal, and hat. You will also receive a 5K training guide, sponsor discounts/coupons, access to the music playlist, and customizable race maps. Race packets for premium registrations after Oct. 5 are not guaranteed to be delivered by Oct. 11.
“With fundraising efforts staying local, we know the direct benefit the Pink on Parade 5K has to our Palm Coast community,” Mayor Milissa Holland said. “This event is the perfect way to enjoy some of our beautiful trails while also supporting a worthwhile cause.”