Fundraising 5k supports those affected by cancer

Participants from last year run through Grand Lake. Last year, the fundraiser contributed over $100,000 to the Mountain Family Center Cancer Fund.
Courtesy John Williams

GRAND LAKE — Along a five kilometer stretch in Grand Lake signs bearing names of loved ones sit ready on the path a horde of runners will take this Sunday as part of the Taking Steps for Cancer race.

The 5k race, which starts at 10 a.m. on Sept. 30 at Pancho and Lefty’s, is the largest fundraiser for the Mountain Family Center’s Cancer Fund, raising money through sign-up fees and silent and live auctions.

The fund provides up to $2,500 for families affected by cancer since no cancer treatment exists in the county and expenses can add up quickly. Assistance is available regardless of income and insurance.

Event coordinator Judy Eberly said last year the 5k raised over $100,000 and helped 44 families pay for travel, lodging, medical care and more.

“That’s giving $1 or $5 or $500 at a time and that comes from all over the county,” Eberly said. “So far, we’ve been able to help anybody who has asked.”

This year almost 350 people have already signed up, but Eberly said the event is prepared for up to 400 participants. Eberly said the event has seen a lot of community support over the years.

“It’s people caring about other people,” she said. “Most people have had some confrontation with cancer. It’s very universal, I’m afraid, in who it picks on.”

The event will start with local cancer survivor Sara Moran sharing her story and Peggy Mann singing the song “Ribbons of Hope” before the race kicks off through downtown Grand Lake.

Eberly said the path was designed with all abilities, people running with strollers or dogs and walkers in mind.

After the race, there will be a light meal at Pancho and Lefty’s and the silent and live auction. This year’s auction will feature a barn quilt created by Taking Steps for Cancer volunteers.

Eberly said they are hopeful that they can raise as much as last year so that Mountain Family Center can continue helping as many families as possible.

“People have to give, it’s all from the heart and some years you are able to give more than others, so we will take it,” she said. “It’s not just about the fundraising, it’s also about the spirit of coming together in a group to help people that we know and see everyday.”

Taking Steps for Cancer also hosts a spring spirit polar plunge, a views and vista deck tour in July and a Pancho and Lefty’s golf tournament in early September.

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