More than 6,500 Southeast Texans were immersed in the color and spirit of survivorship at the 6th Annual Julie Richardson Procter 5K Ribbon Run Color Rush.
The event honors the loving memory of Julie Richardson Procter, who passed away after a courageous battle with ovarian cancer. It was Procter’s wish that her illness would serve as a meaningful platform to educate women about the signs and symptoms of the disease.
The Ribbon Run, generously supported by presenting sponsor The Byrd Law Firm and title sponsors H-E-B and Jason’s Deli, featured color blast stations, lively music, a health-related Wellness Village, a Kiddie Color Zone, great prizes and entertainment.
“This day has been amazing, and I am so thankful to be involved with the Gift of Life,” said event co-chair Sherry Paschal, “Even though I’m fighting cancer again, I know that I have the support of this organization. I’ll never lose my hope!”
Co-Chair Christy Simon highlighted the importance of the organization’s mission.
“This regional walk/run heightens awareness of the risks and symptoms of breast, ovarian and other gynecological cancers, while also celebrating the strength and courage of cancer survivors,” Simon said. “Along the route, breast and ovarian cancer educational messages were posted, combining fun with critical cancer facts.”
The opening ceremony kicked off with an inspiring musical rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by award-winning country music singer Jimmy Kaiser, followed by poignant survivor testimonials by cervical cancer survivor Karen Pierce, breast cancer survivors Anne Winslow, RN, MSN, FNP-C and Co-Chair Sherry Paschal and ovarian cancer survivor Lola Campbell Wilber.
Brock Enterprises again provided the start/finish line scaffolding and spectacular ceremony event stage that each year inspires the spirit of celebration at the 5K Ribbon Run.
Winners of the 5K were: first place, Sergio Sanchez; second place, Nolan Moore; and third place, Bree Fontenot.
Following the conclusion of the run at the festive and jubilant Celebration Ceremony, the crowd was energized by soulful tunes performed by Houston jazz Yvonne Washington and the Mix, a dance performance by Kelly Dance Force and a symbolic balloon release, led by cancer survivors Ania Bender, Joanna Clark and Lola Campbell Wilber.
“As we let go of our balloons, we send forth this message: You are not alone,” said Bender, during the balloon release.
Also at the ceremony, Previty Clinic for Surgical Care and Gift of Life honored 12 Angels Among Us, extraordinary champions for the organization’s mission and voices of compassion and support for women and cancer survivors: Ania Bender ; Judy Black; Joanna Clark ; Robin Dauphin; Carol Fernandez; Becky Mason; Patti McSpadden; Apryl Mensah, MD; Dora Nisby; Penny Sullivan; Lola Campbell Wilber ; and Karen Wortham.
Ribbon Run teams and sponsors were also recognized for their extraordinary support, with top team fundraiser Cynthia Shaw awarded with an Apple iPad for her tremendous efforts. Second place fundraiser Schalanda Berry and third place fundraiser Anne Self received Best Buy and restaurant gift cards for their much appreciated help that raised funds for the program. Linda Long was the lucky winner of the 55” smart television from the Wellness Village draw.
Additionally, the City of Beaumont was acknowledged for the support of its various departments, including the Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services, Traffic Management, Streets and Drainage, Event Facilities and Public Works.
All proceeds from the event benefit the Gift of Life’s breast and ovarian cancer initiatives, which impact thousands of Southeast Texans each year.
Serving Southeast Texans for more than 20 years, the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program offers free healthcare services and education for residents within seven Southeast Texas counties. Since inception, the organization has helped extend the lives of more than 275 individuals who have been diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer and navigated through treatment and healing.