Running against stigma

Prevention Plus hosts 5K to benefit its county programs

Prevention Plus of Burlington County will host its first annual Lace Up Against Stigma 5K fundraiser at the Rancocas Valley Sports Complex on Saturday, April 22. 

Proceeds will benefit fund prevention and education programs delivered throughout the county and in underserved areas.

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“We go into schools and throughout the community and we deliver different prevention programs for students and adults and residents,” said Kayla Kilpatrick, social media coordinator for Prevention Plus.

According to the organization’s website, the county became a designated “stigma-free” community in 2021 by supporting those who suffer from mental-health challenges and substance use disorder.

“By being stigma-free, we’re hoping that we can encourage people to get help, so this fundraiser is really in conjunction with that,” Kilpatrick noted of how the idea for the 5K came to fruition. “And kind of showing (how) everyone who participates and donates and is involved is pledging also to be stigma-free.”

“We’re promoting a healthy community and just showing our support for anybody who may need it.”

Kilpatrick is excited to see the county’s residents, businesses and schools come together for the race initiative, given that it’s the first year Prevention Plus is hosting a 5K.

“People talk about stigma and being stigma-free all the time, but I think when people come out and they participate in something and actually take the time out of their day to show their support for that, that’s what I’m really excited for, is to see everyone come together and support the same cause,” Kilpatrick noted.

The mission of Prevention Plus is to promote the health, wellness and safety of the community as it relates to alcohol abuse, tobacco, other drugs and similar issues. It does so through education, collaboration and advocacy with entities that range from school districts to law enforcement, among others. 

“I want everyone to walk away, first of all, feeling good that they can support something (in) such a good initiative and such a helpful initiative, but also knowing that if they’re needed, they’re supported,” Kilpatrick explained of what she hopes people gain from the Lace Up Against Stigma 5K. 

“I’m hoping that some people come out, and if they themselves are struggling or have a loved one or a friend who may need help, they can find resources there, too.”

For more information on the 5K, visit

“I’m just so proud of everyone who signed up so far to participate, everyone who has donated, everyone who is going to sign up …” Kilpatrick said. “Just to see everyone come together, and really be there for the same cause and show that they support it.”

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