For Immediate Release: April 15, 2008
BLOOMSBURG — Two Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania students are using a 5K race to honor family and friends who have passed away from cancer and to inspire their local community to help fight the disease. Shannon Hoffman, a junior mass communications major, and Susan Wade, a sophomore medical imaging major, are the organizers of the annual JesVic 5K race in their hometown,Watsontown.
The second annual race and walk will be held on Saturday, June 7, at 9 a.m. at Watsontown Elementary School. A half-mile kids’ race will began at 10 a.m. Pre-registration for the 5K race is $15 and $5 for the kids’ race. Race day registration is $20 for the 5K race and $7 for the kids’ race.
The two student organizers, both graduates of Warrior Run High School, planned the JesVic 5K in memory of Susan Wade’s sister, Jessica Wade, and the mother of a high school classmate, Vicki Hitesman. “When Vicki was sick, my high school athletic trainer told me, ‘It’s easy to say you feel bad for someone, but it takes a lot more to do something to help,’ ” Hoffman said. Hoffman spoke to Wade about the possibility of organizing the race, and they approached community leaders and businesses for support. The first JesVic 5K race, held last summer, drew 315 participants and brought in $6,400 of donations.
Last year’s race was so successful that Wade and Hoffman decided to make it an annual event. They hope to raise $8,000 this year. “We’ll both be in the area for at least a few more years, and we hope to continue to organize the race in the future,” Wade said.
For Hoffman, the most rewarding aspect of last year’s race was “watching the community come together, participants as well as businesses, and to have everyone be so enthusiastic. It’s really a testament to Jessica and Vicki,” she said. This year’s race is dedicated to the memory of Mary Young, a Watsontown resident who was an active volunteer during last summer’s race and passed away from cancer this past year. “There was no question in our minds that this year’s race should be dedicated to her,” Hoffman said.
Wade sees the race as an opportunity to give back to others in need. “My sister gave me the drive to do this,” Wade said. “She always wanted to be active. She always wanted to do a marathon and, when she was sick, the community just kept giving to us. And, like my mom says, this race is about giving back to the community,” Wade said.
The two students agree this act of giving back is the most important part of the event. “The best part of last year’s race was approaching the families and telling them they would be receiving the funds from the race,” Hoffman said. “They were just so grateful.”
Wade agreed. “I wish the hundreds of people who participated in the race could have seen the faces of those families when we told them they were receiving the money,” she said.
A pre-race pasta dinner is planned for Friday, June 6, at Watson Inn, 100 Main St., Watsontown. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. The dinner will feature raffle prizes, live music and a speech by Freddi Carlip, editor of the Runner’s Gazette. Runners can sign up for the dinner when they pre-register. The cost is $6 per person.
Proceeds from the race and pasta dinner benefit the Evangelical Community Hospital Hospice and local families struggling with disease and medical bills.
Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.