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Colors of Cancer 5K run helps raise awareness

Oct. 27, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON — The fall colors looked muted at Ritter Park in Huntington Saturday as scores of runners passed through the park in pinks, greens, oranges and other shades.

There were plenty of tough-looking guys wearing pink tutus around their waists while pounding the ground in the early-morning bitter cold.

Of course, it was all part of Cabell Huntington Hospital's Colors of Cancer 5K Run & Walk.

The event was organized to highlight the many cancers that are faced by the people of the Tri-State Community and raise awareness by encouraging runners and walkers to dress in colors representing different cancers. Orange was for kidney cancer and leukemia. Gray represented brain cancer. Lime green was for lymphoma, and, obviously, pink represented breast cancer.

Lindsay Tolliver, a member of Cabell Midland's float pool -- a group of workers of various backgrounds who go wherever they're needed at the hospital -- and team "Hope Floats" represented about the whole spectrum, with a tye-dye shirt and orange leggings underneath black and gray shorts.

"We had a woman running with us today who has thyroid cancer, and cancer has affected the lives of everyone on our team in some way," she said. "We had a whole bunch of reasons for running."

The race had 470 participants sign up, and seemed to be a true family event, with a broad spectrum in age range.

For instance, first place went to 12-year-old Jackson Gibson.

Patrick Brown, 11, of Buffalo in Putnam County, also participated.

"I'm just supporting all of the people with cancer because I know they need money for medicine and for help," Brown said.

There were also plenty of cancer survivors who came out for the event, like 43-year-old Melissa Lay, a breast cancer survivor.

"It's hereditary in my family, and I was diagnosed with the genetic mutation two years ago," Lay said. "The cancer was detected and I went through a mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, chemo and a hysterectomy. Now I'm one year out and it's wonderful.

"It means so much to me to participate in this for me and my family. I have cousins out in California who have gone through the same thing, and I was running for them as well."

Proceeds from the race will go toward the Good Samaritan Fund at Cabell Huntington's Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. The fund helps cancer patients with hidden costs of cancer not covered by insurance, such as buying gas for trips to chemotherapy treatments, wigs, prostheses and hotel stays among other costs.

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