Albany-- According to the American Cancer Society, over 35,000 people in Georgia were diagnosed with cancer last year. On Saturday, hundreds of runners and walkers hit the pavement to bring about awareness and raise money to fight the disease that kills thousands each year.
Combine the sound of a quietly running Flint River with the sound of running feet and what do you get? "The Riverfront Run to raise awareness for cancer, cancer prevention, screening and change of lifestyle," says organizer Dr. Jose Tongol. That's right, and for those reasons hundreds of volunteers are stepping out.
"We have a 3 mile run and a one mile walk," says Tongol.
"I did the one mile walk in memory of my mother," says walker Elaine Croy. Memory is Elaine Croy's motivation to get through the one mile walk. Her mother lost the battle to cancer. "She passed away last year, about the 27th of October," says Croy.
Cancer survivor Desmond Day can now stand and pose for pictures that will serve as proof he made it through. "I was diagnosed in March with Hodgkins disease, a lymphoma cancer. I went through chemotherapy, 15 weeks of treatment," says Day. His cancer is now in full remission and although he's fairly young, "25," says Day, he's proof that cancer can strike anyone at any age.
"A lot of people don't understand how many people are actually sick," says Day.
Thousands of footsteps are meant to represent the thousands who survived the fight. "Have to keep a focused mind and keep your faith in God and he'll pull you through it," says Day. The footsteps also make those who lost the fight to cancer, "Real proud," says Croy.
"If you live a healthy lifestyle, you can prevent a lot of cancer, diabetes, heart attacks and a lot of problems," says Dr. Tongol.
Running water plus plenty of running feet equals a successful Riverfront Run. So far, Tongol says more than $70,000 has been raised. It will all go to the Southwest Georgia Cancer Care Fund. The fund pays for research across the region and helps patients with the high costs of medical bills.