By CHERIL VERNON
Paint Palestine Pink is organizing for its Third Annual Walk and Fun Run to raise awareness of breast cancer — with proceeds providing mammograms to local residents who are in need.
“There are all kinds of breast cancer awareness events, but what makes this unique is that all of the money raised is going to a fund to provide mammograms to the uninsured and underinsured in Anderson County,” said Paint Palestine Pink co-founder and board member Gerri Simpson.
The events will be held Saturday, Oct. 12 starting at Texas Oncology, 3415 S. Loop 256 in Palestine. Participants can choose to the 1.5 mile Fun Walk or 10.5 mile Walk/Run around the loop.
“We have really vamped it up this year — we have a lot more cheer stations to welcome walkers and we are a lot more family-oriented — kid-friendly and pet-friendly,” Simpson told the Herald-Press. “We even have treats for the dogs and bandanas.”
Palestine’s sweetFrog yogurt shop characters Scoop and Cookie will be on hand as well as Ollie, the mascot for the Hot Pepper Festival. Photo booths will be set up for both the 1.5 mile Fun Walk or 10.5 mile walk/run where participants will have photo opportunities.
“Several area churches are helping out this year. We will have candy for the kids who do the 1.5 mile walk/run,” Simpson said. “Kids that are 12 and under walk free in the 1.5 mile walk/run if they come with a parent who is registered to walk.”
There are no age restrictions for the 1.5 mile Fun Walk, however, a registration fee of $25 is required for participants over 12 years and will be taken through the morning of the walk. Only participants age 12 and older will be provided a T-shirt.
“Decide if you want to support Paint Palestine Pink with a 1.5 mile Fun Walk with family, friends, a stroller, the dogs, etc. or with the challenge of a 10.5 mile walk or run around Loop 256 or as a volunteer,” a PPP news release said.
Cost to participate in the 10.5 mile walk/run is $125. A registration fee of $25 is required and a minimum of $100 additional fundraising will allow the person to participate in the 10.5 mile Walk/Run. Those signed up will be given a wristband at registration the morning of the event which indicates they have registered and reached the fundraising minimum. Registration fees are non-refundable, non-transferable and do not count toward the required fundraising minimum. Participants who register as a 10.5 mile walker or runner and not raise the minimum, will still receive a t-shirt and will be allowed to walk in the 1.5 mile Fun Walk.
“Teams are working on projects to raise money and sponsors are preparing to decorate their rest stops,” PPP co-founder and board member Tara Kinabrew said.
The 10.5 mile walk/run around Loop 256 will start at 7:30 a.m. at Texas Oncology, 3415 S. Loop 256, Palestine and continue around the loop. The 1.5 mile fun walk will start at 8 a.m. at the same location. Registration will start at 7 a.m.
As of earlier in the week, 75 have registered for the 10.5 mile walk/run and around 50 have signed up for the 1.5 mile Fun Walk.
For the 10.5 mile walk/run, there is an age restriction of 16.
“It takes a lot of dedication and a lot of work for those doing the 10.5 mile walk/run. Some of the people train for several months and some go out there and do it without a lot of training but are resilient,” Simpson said. “Every person who walks the 10.5 gives a mammogram to someone that would not otherwise have them. When you see those people walk around the loop, keep that in mind. We couldn’t do this without our walkers. The 10.5 mile walk/run isn’t easy but helping others is the payoff.”
Simpson said those unsure whether or not they can make the 10.5 mile walk/run should remember they will have walk stations along the way to help the walkers in case they change their mind.
“If you get two miles then you decide you can’t do it, we can pick you up and bring you back. The volunteers at the walk stations will let us know when we have a walker that needs to be picked up,” Simpson said.
Palestine’s Citizens on Patrol will be assisting with the PPP event, helping with traffic control.
“We have tons of people volunteering to help us. The UT Tyler nursing students will be volunteering their time. We have medical stations every two miles for those who may need medical care or are dehydrated,” Simpson said. “We also will have nine port-a-potties. Theses will actually be decorated and a committee will judge them.”
The PPP organizers are encouraging the general public to come out to support the event and cheer the walkers and runners on.
“We want to encourage people to come out and be a part of the event even if they can’t walk or if they are not able to do the 10.5 mile walk/run. If you see them walking on the road, we recommend pulling over and cheering them on,” Simpson said. “We want to get the whole town involved because there are a lot of people walking in the walk that are breast cancer survivors or have been affected by breast cancer.”
Get T-shirt on Friday
Those who have pre-registered and paid their fees can come to Texas Oncology on Friday to get their PPP t-shirt and gear before the event on Saturday.
“Watch our (Paint Palestine Pink) Facebook page for specific times,” Simpson said.
To register for the walk or to see a list of event sponsors, visit www.paintpalestinepink.org.
Registration forms can be printed and mailed to Paint Palestine Pink, P.O. Box 74, Palestine, TX 75802.
For more information, call 903-252-6050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Since starting its organization three years ago, the PPP has provided 650 diagnostic mammograms.
“Six individuals have come back with breast cancer. The women have been in stage 2 or higher. So it would not have been good if they had waited,” Simpson said. “We’ve been able to do more fund-raisers throughout the year so we have been able to extended our efforts a little more such as for sonograms and biopsies, when funding is available.”
In many cases, the organization helps not only those who have find a suspicious lump, but for those who are 40 years or older and due for a mammogram or those with a family history of breast cancer.
“All we need is a physician’s order (prescription) and a driver’s license from the person who needs the mammogram and otherwise would not be able to get it,” Simpson said to consider the scholarship application for the mammogram.
In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, two upcoming events will benefit Paint Palestine Pink.
Palestine’s sweetFrog yogurt shop will allocation a portion of their proceeds from sales from 2 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Magnolia Medical Plaza will hold its annual bake sale including raffle and door prizes on Monday, Oct. 21.
“Every doctor’s office in Magnolia Medical Plaza and its employees contribute to the bake sale,” Simpson said.