When cancer affects those in a community, the families, friends and neighbors of that community come together to help battle the disease.
With that idea in mind, the annual Community Run & Walk 4 Family & Friends With Cancer is returning to Voorhees for its eighth year on Sunday, April 17 at 8 a.m. at Voorhees Middle School.
The event brings together members of the community for a fun walk and run to help raise money for cancer research and to assist local cancer patients with the financial struggles that inevitably come from dealing with their diagnosis.
According to Gillian Moss-Cohen, who helps organize the annual event, the idea for the event began when she and a group of friends were training for a three-day breast cancer walk that took place in Philadelphia eight years ago.
During their training, Moss-Cohen had to undergo chemotherapy treatments for cancer herself and ultimately couldn’t participate in the event. Moss-Cohen recalls that there weren’t many local runs or walks at the time she could participate in, and so her friends decided to create their own.
“My friends banded together and said ‘wouldn’t it be great if we did a local community walk?’” Moss-Cohen said. “Everybody knows somebody with cancer … and we can raise money to put toward research.”
Now in its eighth year, the walk has raised more than $250,000 from its participants and sponsors, and organizers of this year’s walk hope to keep that fundraising tradition strong.
As with past events, proceeds will help cancer patients directly through a financial assistance program at the Samost Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey, and funds will also go toward cancer research at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Moss-Cohen said she and others at the event are always touched when they hear from those who received financial assistance from funds they’ve raised.
“They say things like ‘you helped me pay my mortgage,’ or ‘I wouldn’t have been able to live in my house without you,’ and it’s just really great,” Moss-Cohen said.
Sign-in for this year’s event begins at 7:30 a.m., with a start time of 8:30 a.m. Registration for the fun walk and 5K run is $30 adults and $15 for those between the ages of 6 and 18.
Timing will be handled by L&M Computer Sports, and all participants who pre-register will receive a t-shirt. Those who register on the day of the race will receive a t-shirt while supplies last.
A race shirt and packet pick-up time will last on Saturday, April 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Road Runner Sports, 921 Haddonfield Road, Market Place at Garden State Park, Cherry Hill.
Results after the event will be posted at www.LMsports.com.
Awards will also be presented to the overall top male and female 5K finishers and the top 5K age group finishers.
Those looking to join the event this year or donate to the cause can visit www.walk4ff.org. Questions can also be sent through email to walk4FF@gmail.com.
“Everybody has been affected by cancer in someway,” Moss-Cohen said. “Either they’ve had it themselves or a close family member or friend. Everybody can relate to it.”
More information for the event can also be found at www.facebook.com/Walk4FF.