SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Last year, over 6,000 were running as a part of Avera’s Race Against Cancer. This year, to keep us all safe, they’re asking folks to run to their computers and find unique ways to keep up the fight.
Every year, people gather for the Avera Race Against Cancer to run and support someone in their life that’s been impacted. An impact runner Karen Kayl knows all too well.
“It was about a year of treatments, chemotherapy, I wasn’t able to teach at that time, I was at home, you know, sick like anyone who is fighting cancer,” Breast Cancer Survivor Karen Kayl said.
In 2009, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She says the funds from the race made treatments affordable, and helped her make it through the roughest year of her life.
“You begin to lose sense of who you are because you are depressed and your body is being ravaged. So, simply having that and knowing I could go out in public really meant a lot,” Kayl said.
Today, she’s cancer free, but she’s still fighting. This time, it’s for others who need help.
With COVID-19 putting a stop to this year’s race, she and Avera are now taking the fight online.
“It’s emotional in some capacity, but in a lot it’s just a different form of adrenaline. It kind of keeps us going,” Annual Giving Event Coordinator Elijah Bonde said.
Bonde says they have created a number of ways people can show support.
“We’ve made window clings you can put in your windows like the teddy bears you’ve been seeing around town. That way you can color your own ribbon to show what cancer you support,” Bonde said.
“I plan to be with myself running out there. Hopefully, I can have some people with me specifically on that day and get out in my neighborhood and run,” Kayl said.
“If you’re out walking with your family or running on your treadmill inside, you can post a picture of yourself to Facebook,” Bonde said
Those with cancer are very susceptible to the coronavirus, which, Kayl says, makes this year’s race more important that ever.
“We need to make sure they’re benefiting from what the race has to offer for them to keep them healthy, to keep them going, to give them resources to make it through,” Kayl said.
While joggers won’t be able to race to the finish line this year, with every donation, you’re helping someone in their race toward recovery.
To register for the virtual race, make a donation, and see how else you can support, you can visit the Virtual Avera Race Against Cancer website.