When breast cancer survivor Kelly Barton thought about how she wanted to celebrate the end of chemotherapy, her friends suggested she plan a 5K. After all, Kelly is no stranger to organized running and walking events. This marathon runner has been participating in races since training for her first event seven years ago.
“I wanted something good to come out of my diagnosis. I wanted the good to outshine the bad,” Kelly says. “I also wanted this to be a fundraiser and for the money to stay in the community and help other cancer patients. That’s why I chose Oregon Cancer Foundation as the recipient of the proceeds.”
Putting the wheels in motion
The My Breast Friends 5K event came together quickly with help from friends and family and incredible support from Kelly’s employer, Timber Products Company, and other sponsors including Armadillo Roofing, Jones & Roth, Oregon Imaging Centers, Umpqua Dairy Products, Habitat Contracting, LLC, North Fork Roofing Materials, Inc, and Northwest Surgical Specialists.
Kelly’s goal was to have 200 people participate and to raise $10,000 for OCF. She was amazed when registration for the event, which was held earlier this month, topped nearly 300 people and generated almost $13,000!
“The event exceeded all of my expectations,” Kelly says. “I can’t adequately put into words what it meant to me to have so many people there to support the cause. So many of us have been affected by cancer in some way; it was nice to come together to achieve this common goal.”
The value of community support
The Oregon Cancer Foundation is incredibly grateful when people and organizations in the community offer to host a fundraiser to support OCF’s mission. The money raised allows the foundation to help more patients through OCF’s Financial Assistance Program and educational events, including the foundation’s Survivorship Series.
“We are humbled by Kelly’s selflessness, courage and tenacity. She’s a force of nature, and we are honored to have the opportunity to work with her and to help her celebrate,” says OCF Executive Director Amy Johnston. “We are also incredibly grateful to all of the local businesses that supported My Breast Friends 5K, especially Kelly’s employer, Timber Products Company. It’s wonderful to witness a business support their employee during such a difficult time, through both their words and actions.”
“The My Breast Friends 5K wasn’t just a success because we crushed our attendance and fundraising goals. It was a success because the event was so full of positive, supportive energy,” Kelly says. “It was fun to see so many first time 5K participants win medals for being in the top 3 in their division.”
Kelly has decided to make the My Breast Friends 5K an annual event. To see additional photos from this year’s race and to get information on upcoming events, check out the event’s Facebook page.