How Unleash the SHE Benefits Ovarian Cancer Research
The Unleash the SHE 5k and 10k is coming to
Bloomington St. Paul on October 23, 2016 11th, and it’s shaping up to be the biggest one yet! If you’re not familiar with this amazing event, it happens twice a year – in Rochester in the spring, and a fall event in St. Paul Bloomington (formerly Blaine).
Unleash the SHE is more than just a “girl power” event. ‘SHE’ is an acronym, which stands for Strength, Health, Empowerment. It is an encouragement to women to live strong, healthy lives. Mark Bongers, the race director and president of Final Stretch (the race organization who hosts this and about 20 others annually) told me they started the event in 2009 to provide women with a more comfortable race environment.
… sometimes, women like to race when there is just other women around… sometimes as guys we don’t get that, but a lot of women seem to prefer it… they tell us, ‘we can be more of ourselves out there.’
But this event is about more than just a comfortable race experience.
Beyond the SHE
The Unleash the SHE race benefits the Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance (MOCA), which is a statewide non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and funding research to detect ovarian cancer early and treat it properly. Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of all gynecologic cancers, and because there is no test, it is often diagnosed at a late stage. More than 400 Minnesota women will be diagnosed with the disease this year alone.
Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncologist Dr. Jamie Bakkum-Gamez has taken part in the race in recent years to raise symptom awareness, but more importantly, to raise money needed to fund ovarian cancer research.
Too often in my job, I see women dealing with the difficult emotions and physical hardships related to ovarian cancer, and I can only wish for something better. An early diagnosis test. Better treatments… That’s why I put so much effort into building a team and raising money for MOCA through the Unleash the SHE race. It shows our patients that we care about them and their futures.
My grandmother passed away from a form of this type of cancer, so this is an event that I have a connection with.
More Ways to Get Involved
After you register, you can create a fundraising team, or just donate direct to MOCA. $5 of every race entry goes directly to support MOCA’s efforts. At the Rochester event in May, there were over 1,000 participants that raised more than $40,000 for MOCA. The Bloomington event on October 11 is expected draw close to 2,000 participants.
As of 2014, there is now a way for men to get involved as well! So many males wanted to show support for wives, mothers, sisters, etc, that they decided to create a co-ed walk. Any fellas who participate, will get a shirt that says, “Support the SHE” or “Real men wear teal!”
It is also common for groups of women to create informal teams built around loved ones suffering from ovarian cancer. They will make t-shirts, banners, etc. just like at any other race, but there is much more behind it.
It’s not just about running the race… it’s about coming together around this cause… sometimes the survivor is running/walking and others are walking along side… there is a lot of emotion that comes along with it.
About the Race
The 10k begins at 9:00 am, and the 5k run starts at 9:30 am, followed by the walk at 9:45 am. Both events being at Mount Normandale Lake Park. The 5k does a brief out and back along 34, then circles the lake to the finish. It is mostly flat, with some rolling hills throughout. The 10k goes further south, circling near Ridgeview Elementary, then back around the lake. The first half is a bit uphill, but the second half is down, which should make a fast finish!
If you’d like to register for any of the events at Unleash the SHE, visit the registration page for more information.
Have you run in one of these events before? Did you run for someone? Share below.