The Star-Herald

Colors of Courage to take off Sept. 29 in Presque Isle

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Community members can support family, friends and neighbors in their fight against cancer during the annual Colors of Courage on Saturday, Sept. 29, in Presque Isle.

The event will begin and end at The Aroostook Medical Center’s A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital, and will feature a 5K and a new 10K option. Both are open to runners and walkers.  All proceeds will benefit Aroostook Cancer Care.

“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Jamie Guerrette, TAMC community health specialist and coordinator of the event.  “The stories that our champions and other participants share with us are incredibly touching and sometimes heartbreaking, but seeing their strength or hearing about the character of the loved one they are walking or running for really makes a difference.”

The “champions” Guerrette refers to are more than a dozen individuals who will carry a specific Colors of Courage colored flag, each representing a cancer that has impacted their lives.  Some have fought their own battle with cancer; in other cases, they are honoring or remembering a loved one.

The champions and supporters will walk a special lap around the hospital campus with their flags to kick off the event after a brief welcome at 9:30 a.m.

One such champion is Courtney Lovely of Presque Isle, who will walk in honor of her father, Dwight Junkins.  Junkins received a diagnosis in April of myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood cancer, and underwent a stem cell transplant on Sept. 5.

“In the face of fear, you learn cancer is no match for the knowledge held by the doctors whose passion is to eradicate cancer and the scientific research being performed in clinical trials around the world,” Lovely said.

“It also can’t take away the donors; the amazing people willing to give hope to families like mine, complete strangers, in a moment’s notice through the selfless gift of life without question. Most of all, though, you learn that cancer can’t break the love of a family as hard as it may try, and many days, that love is what gets you through some of the darkest moments you have ever faced,” said Lovely.

Another champion, Beth Williams of Presque Isle, will carry a pink flag to celebrate her triumph over breast cancer.  Williams has turned her life around regarding physical activity since her recovery.

“While I wish I had never been diagnosed with cancer, some good did come of it,” she said.  “I had never been a physically active person. And while I was so ill going through treatment, being physically active wasn’t an option.  Once I got through it, and started becoming active, I began to challenge myself in ways I never thought possible.”

TAMC will share the stories of these champions and many others on social media and the Colors of Courage webpage:  www.tamc.org/colorsofcourage.

Following the champion lap, the 10K will get underway at 10 a.m., followed by the free kids’ fun run, open to children age 12 and under with a distance of about a half-mile. The 5K will follow. Both the 5K and 10K courses begin and end on the hospital campus.  

To register or volunteer, visit www.tamc.org/colorsofcourage.  All 5K and 10K participants will receive a commemorative bib, medal and an event T-shirt.

Registration is $20 online by Sept. 26, or $25 on the morning of the event or during packet pickup the evening before.

 Packet pickup and in person registration will take place Friday, Sept. 28, from 4-6 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 29, from 8:30-9:15 a.m. in the Pinkham lobby at TAMC.

For more information, visit tamc.org or call Guerrette at (207) 768-4008.

Submitted by the Communications Office of The Aroostook Medical Center.

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