DOVER - Registration is now open for the 10th Annual Seacoast Cancer 5K, one of the largest road races in New Hampshire that benefits the Mass General Cancer Center at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital.
The race will be held on Sept. 24 at the hospital's Portsmouth Outpatient Center on the Pease Tradeport. There is also an option to run or walk a one-mile loop, or participate virtually from Sept 16-23. Runners and walkers of all ages can register online at seacoastcancer5k.org for just $35.
Organizers expect the event to draw a record of more than 1,800 participants. Last year's roster saw representatives from 161 cities and towns, 18 states, and seven countries. The event has raised nearly $2 million over the last decade.
The funds raised are critical to underwrite the cancer center's supportive and wellness services, which offers integrative therapies and support that are often not covered by insurance. The program includes acupuncture, Reiki, massage therapy and exercise classes, as well as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language pathology.
"Our ambitious goal to raise $450,000 tops all previous race totals," said Judy Pinkham, development officer for corporate and foundations philanthropy at Wentworth-Douglass. "Every dollar raised stays in our community."
The program also allows patients to meet with oncology social workers, nutritionists, and patient navigators. And supports basic needs for those who cannot afford transportation, gas cards, groceries, or other necessities during treatment.
"We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of patients turning to the Mass General Cancer Center at Wentworth-Douglass for their cancer care, especially in the last two years," said Pinkham. "The need for the services this event underwrites is continually growing."
For Danielle Erwin, senior administrative assistant for Health Partners of New Hampshire, participating in the Seacoast Cancer 5K is personal.
"For me, it's about letting a patient at their lowest point know they are far from alone in this fight, that a whole community of people are helping them, so that they can get through this," she said. "As a patient, I do this 5k because I see the amazing energy the Cancer Center has as soon as you walk in the door, it means so much to me in my journey. I'm a survivor and want to celebrate that this Cancer Center is the reason why I'm able to do this race. I 5k for those who can't and for those who fought the good fight and should also be celebrated and remembered for their amazing strength. And most importantly, I 5K for the hope that one day we find a cure."
For the fifth consecutive year, NBC Sports color analyst and former Boston hoops favorite, Brian Scalabrine will be in attendance, serving as "Honorary Team Captain".
"The one thing that really resonated with me when Wentworth-Douglass approached me was the fact that they focus on supporting the patient and their family," Scalabrine said after the 2022 race. "There are many people fighting cancer that worry more about their families than themselves, that's why it's so important to have a support system in place for the entire family so they know how to get through all the challenges cancer comes with."
The 2022 Seacoast Cancer 5K raised more than $372,000 and organizers are hoping runners will continue to be drawn to the flat, closed course, ideal for both families and those seeking personal best times.
"This year marks the 40th year that I have been immersed in the world of oncology. My experience as a clinician and leader in oncology has led me to the fortunate place where I appreciate and respect every single day of life," adds Michael Meserve, director of cancer survivorship and wellness. "I think of this for all our patients, their loved ones, and the community surrounding them. It is our endeavor to create networks of support and care that will lift them up and help buoy them through their journey. The 5K helps us raise very important funds to deliver these services that are not billable but are essential to someone's care."
To register, form a team or donate, visit seacoastcancer5k.org. All proceeds raised remain local and directly benefit patients at the Mass General Cancer Center at Wentworth-Douglass.