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Team Toni Memorial 5K set for June 15

Jun. 15, 2013 @ 11:37 PM

HUNTINGTON -- A local woman who inspired thousands is the namesake for a June 15 5K to benefit area cancer patients.

The second annual Team Toni Memorial 5K Run/Walk will begin and end at Pullman Square, following a flat path through downtown Huntington on Saturday, June 15. The event begins at 8 a.m., with registration at 7 a.m.

Named in memory of Toni Black, a Chesapeake, Ohio, woman who died in April 2012 at the age of 23, the 5K is an extension of the movement that swept the Tri-State as supporters lined the road from Beckley to Chesapeake as Black and her family returned home from North Carolina after doctors stopped treatment for her lung and brain cancer.

"Toni wanted Team Toni to keep going to help others with cancer," said Holly Black, director of the 5K and a distant relative of Toni's. "Toni really brought our community together. She saw a lot of people helping her at the end, and she made it very clear she wanted us to continue paying it forward in her memory."

Funds raised by Team Toni are used to provide gas cards, monetary donations and gift baskets for local individuals battling cancer. Some of this year's proceeds, Black said, will benefit a 24-year-old Proctorville man recently diagnosed with stage four brain cancer.

Black said the 5K is one of Team Toni's two largest fundraisers -- the other is a poker run in the fall. Last year's 5K featured more than 300 participants and raised approximately $10,000. Black said she is hoping to surpass both the number of racers and amount raised with this year's event.

"We want to help as many people as we can and keep Team Toni going for as long as we can," Black said.

Individuals can sign up at TeamToni.org to become a member of the team and volunteer in a variety of ways, including sending cards or notes to individuals battling illness to offering transportation or lawn care services.

Pre-registration for the 5K is $20 by Friday, May 24, which includes a T-shirt. Rates increase to $25 after May 24.

More information about the Team Toni 5K is also available at TriStateRacer.com.

Follow H-D reporter Beth Hendricks on Facebook or Twitter @BethHendricksHD.

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