More than 600 runners and walkers are expected to hit the pavement and trail this Saturday in runs to raise awareness of and funds for breast and prostate cancer.
The seventh annual co-ed Prostate Cancer Run/Walk will begin at 8 a.m. at Mendenhall River Community School. The Beat the Odds all-women's run and walk will follow the same route at 9 a.m. Proceeds will benefit local charities and support groups related to cancer prevention and awareness.
"We're running or walking for the cure," said Bryn Nelson, a breast cancer survivor who will speak to Beat the Odds participants before the race. Last year, Nelson and nearly 700 other women raised $15,000 in the event, which is sponsored by the Glacier Valley Rotary and local businesses.
George Elgee, a member of the Glacier Valley Rotary and director of the Beat the Odds race, said all of the funds raised stay in the community.
"Last year we gave money to five different programs," he said.
With proceeds from the race, the Southeast Alaska Cancer and Wellness Foundation has set up a 24-hour hotline, a Web site and a fund to assist in travel expenses for cancer patients, Elgee said.
The race also plays a valuable role in raising community awareness of cancer, Nelson said.
"When I first started doing this, it was one in 10 women affected (by breast cancer). Now it's one in eight. And it can happen to anybody. We're all high-risk because we're women," she said.
Linda Macaulay plans to walk in the race with her two daughters and four granddaughters. A breast cancer survivor, Macaulay said that increasing awareness and supporting cancer victims are what the races are about.
"You're a part of a club, so to speak," she said. "It's a big sort of sisterhood."
Men and women will participate in the Prostate Cancer Run/Walk. Proceeds benefit the Southeast Cancer and Wellness Foundation.
"Typically we raise around $900 to $1,000 a year," said John McConnochie, who is co-directing the race with his wife, PeggyAnn.
Former Juneau resident Mike Miller founded the race seven years ago when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
"That threw everybody for a loop," said PeggyAnn McConnochie. "He was young, fit and healthy. He helped raise awareness of prostate cancer so men can get themselves checked, have early detection and have good results," she said.
Participants can pre-register for the prostate cancer race at Foggy Mountain Shop and the Juneau Racquet Club, and for the breast cancer race at those locations and the Nugget Alaskan Outfitter. Or they can sign up the day of the race beginning at 7 a.m.
For more information on the Prostate Cancer Run/Walk contact the McConnochies at 586-3641 or 789-2181. For further details on the Beat the Odds event, call Elgee at 789-3178.
The Southeast Alaska Cancer and Wellness Foundation Web site is www.seacwf.org.
Christine Schmid can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.