The morning of October 3, 2015 dawned crisp and clear – a perfect day for a race. At about 6am, 40 Des Moines RRT volunteers arrived at the Des Moines Capital Building.  They had the privilege of assisting the Susan G Komen foundation at their 24th annual 5k race to spread awareness for breast cancer.

The Runners gathering together at the start line

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Series is the world’s largest and most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer. The series of 5K runs and fitness walks raises significant funds and awareness for the breast cancer movement, celebrates breast cancer survivors and honours those who have lost their battle against the disease. Since founded in 1983, the Komen Race for the Cure Series has grown from one Race with 800 people in Dallas to a global series of more than 150 Races on four continents and over 1 million participants. Komen’s Race for the Cure has invested over $2 billion dollars towards the fight against breast cancer.

Volunteers handing out food and drinks

After touching base with the organizer of the event, Derek Johnson, the volunteers split up. Some of them helped hand out fruit and drinks to the racers, while others helped dish up plates of food in the survivor’s tent. The Susan G Komen Foundation offered a meal free of charge to all cancer survivors – it was very inspirational to hear their stories and see their smiles after everything they had gone through. About 20 of the RRT headed to a water station halfway through the course. Once there, they joined forces with 2 other volunteer teams to fill 8 huge tables with cups of water for the runners. The cups were kindly donated by Taco Johns.

Runners along the course

The volunteers assisted in many different areas of the event including, trash/recycling setup and maintenance, parking lot and traffic control, roving assistant (to help anyone that had questions), as well as helping at the Ford National sponsor tent, Survivor tent, and Water Stations.

Families running for their loved ones

The gun went off at 9am sharp signalling the start of the 5K. Ready to get started at the Water Station, the RRT anxiously waited to see the first glimpse of the pink horde of runners. Soon, the mass of runners came around the corner and it was a sea of pink. It was all hands on deck as the volunteers handed out water cups to the endless stream of people.

The water station along the course

There were roughly 8,000 participants in the race and around $400,000 was raised.  About 75% of the proceeds cover the costs for screenings, treatment and education in Iowa. The remaining 25% helps to fund national research for the cure. It was very humbling to see how many people participated to show their support. There were all walks of life participating, from infants in strollers to toddlers on their dad’s shoulders to people with cancer to cancer survivors.

Volunteers helping dismantle the event

At about 11am, the event drew to a close and RRT kicked into high gear helping take down all the signs, decorations, and loading up the truck to take everything back to storage.

Some of the RRT Volunteers from Des Moines, Iowa

Overall, it was a very rewarding day. To participate in an event that hits very close to home for many was a huge privilege for all.


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