One hundred and ninety people ran and walked in the 14th annual Beat the Odds race in an effort to raise awareness and money for cancer research. The rain held off Saturday morning for runners and walkers who were participating in the event.
The Mitkof Dance Troupe performed in the community gym and Mindy Anderson spoke to the crowd before the race kicked off.
“Many of you here have cancer yourselves and we know that some day we’re going to beat this,” Anderson said. “We’re going to beat the odds. And we’re here to celebrate those of us who have it and are getting through it and we’re here to celebrate the people that we miss and love.”
The crowd lined up at the starting line outside the community gym. Some were on bikes and others had their dogs accompanying them on the 5K route.
Karin Christensen, a Beat the Odds organizer, said the event was also a memorial for Annabelle Baker. Baker, a local artist and original Beat the Odds organizer, passed away last year from cancer.
Joan Sebastian has run the race off and on for the last ten years. She raced in memory of Baker, Jane Egger, and her mother who is a breast cancer survivor.
“It’s a great community event,” Sebastian said. “You mix fitness with a good cause.”
The event tends to raise around $8,000 to $12,000 annually in proceeds.
Michele Parker, Beat the Odds committee co-chair and cancer survivor, said proceeds from individual participation haven’t been tallied but the group earned $14,000 from sponsors alone this year. Papa Bear’s Pizza also donated 25 percent of its Saturday’s sales to the cause.
Proceeds go to three cancer groups across Southeast Alaska and Petersburg Medical Center. At PMC, donations fund chemotherapy equipment and training, equipment, educational books and a free mammogram program. Proceeds also help fund travel costs for patients to travel to medical facilities outside of Petersburg where other cancer care options are provided.
Those who didn’t participate in the race that want to contribute can still purchase Beat the Odds t-shirts at Lee’s Clothing.
A cancer support group meets the first and third Fridays of each month in the library. True North Counseling & Consultation and Petersburg Mental Health Services offer free counseling services.
Parker urges anyone with questions related to support groups, resources or Beat the Odds to contact her at 907-518-1023.