Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Saturday at 9 a.m. one of the largest gatherings of like-minded community members will don race bibs at the Riverbend Elementary covered play area to address a disease that is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Cancer caused nearly 10 million deaths in 2020, according to the American Cancer Society. There are projected to be 27.5 million new cancer cases and 16.3 million cancer deaths by 2040. Roughly 610,000 deaths are expected this year, equivalent to 1670 deaths per day.
Juneau’s annual Beat the Odds race is the major fundraiser for Cancer Connection, a local grass roots non-profit.
“Beat The Odds is Cancer Connection’s main fundraiser,” race director and former Cancer Connection board member Kym Mauseth said. “Cancer Connection is a non-profit that helps support those affected by cancer, either themselves, their friends, their families, all Southeast neighbors…”
Cancer Connection’s vision is to empower Alaskans through support, awareness, education and resources.
“Programs such as travel reimbursement,” Mauseth said. “An apartment with a reduced rate in Seattle and other services provided locally here like support groups…”
Cancer Connection notes other programs that include Team Survivor Yoga for cancer survivors and support people; counseling assistance for those wishing to seek professional help dealing with cancer-related issues; a Let’s Talk program to connect those diagnosed with cancer with someone to talk to who understands balancing emotions, identifying resources, maintaining relationships, learning to ask for help and coping with physical changes, among other support; and an annual community health forum.
“It is pretty heart warming,” Mauseth said of the Beat the Odds turnout. “Especially for somebody that is actually going through cancer treatments at the time or has a family member or friend or a neighbor. It’s really touching and it is wonderful to hear stories of survivors and those that have been able to use the services provided by Cancer Connection. It gives an opportunity for people to gather if they were in support of a friend or somebody going through cancer they could walk together as a group and just show their support…”
The Saturday Beat the Odds event will begin with introductions at 9 a.m. inside the Riverbend Elementary School covered play area and the 5K run will start roughly 20 minutes later followed by the 2-mile walk. The 5K is a Nugget Alaska Outfitter series race who will provide socks afterward to all participants. All registered participants are eligible to receive door prizes. The names of winners will be drawn during the race and posted. Prizes include an Alaska Airlines roundtrip ticket and quilts, among other items.
Online registration has closed but race-day registration is available starting at 8 a.m. at the Riverbend covered play area. Cost is $30 for adults and $25 for youth.