BEND, OR -- Thousands of breast cancer survivors and their supporters will take part in this weekend's Heaven Can Wait 5k walk/run. Now a Central Oregon tradition, the event raises money and awareness, "This event has raised more than $1.5 million over the last 20 years," says Michelle Solley, with the St. Charles Foundation, "This year, we're anticipating almost 3,000 participants, and we're hoping to raise more than $100,000 this Sunday."
Solley says, "It's held every year on National Cancer Survivor's Day. Heaven Can Wait has grown into one of the area's biggest athletic events, and it's an annual celebration of cancer survivorship." And that celebration, she says, is noticeable in the costumes participants wear, "We always have additional merchandise for Heaven Can Wait. And this year, we've added a special survivor shirt. The affirmation says, 'I am not defined by cancer. I may fall, but will get up. I will not waver. I will not surrender. I am a survivor'." Solley tells KBND News, "You know, cancer affects everyone. many people have lost friends and family members to cancer. One of the amazing things that I keep seeing over and over again is the strength of the survivors."
Proceeds are used for education, treatment and support services through Sara's Project, a local partnership through the St. Charles Cancer Center named for Sara Fisher who died of cancer in 1992.
The 20th annual Heave Can Wait 5k is Sunday, June 2 at Drake Park. It starts at 9 a.m. Register at Foot Zone in downtown Bend. Solley says volunteers are still needed at several water stations. Sign up online.