Perfectly laced shoes and an inspirational playlist. Is that all it takes to STOMP cancer? Not quite, but those elements were a big part of the success on Friday, September 28th for Bringing Hope Home’s 3rd Annual West Chester STOMPS Cancer 5K and Fun Run/Walk.
Over 400 runners gathered at the intersection of Church and Market Street. At first it was a just a few of us, carrying on small talk and keeping our fingers crossed for no rain. Before I knew it, the crowd had grown 80 fold. I was surrounded by a sea of fluorescent orange t-shirts, bouncing around on their toes to stay warm for the downtown course. Couples, families, individuals and even the Bringing Hope Home CEO, Paul Isenberg, were ready to go.
After a touching word from a young man personally helped by the non-profit, all eyes faced forward and the masses took off. More time passed for some than others but that made no difference, unless you had your heart set on a prize. Whether the participants finished in 19:06, which the overall winner amazingly did, or in 45 minutes, the same after-party was still waiting for everyone at Barnaby’s, complete with The Town Dish red carpet.
After completing the race, flushed faces were ushered to the top floor of Barnaby’s. Colorful certificates lined the walls with each paper declaring a racer’s personal reason for STOMPING cancer. It was interesting to see that over 500 people were fighting the good fight that evening, but all for many different reasons. “For mommy,” one declared and “because these sneaks were made for stomping” was written across another.
Attendees darted for the complimentary water bottles set up generously around the bar but most guests of age made a beeline, or more like a “beerline”, to the taps. I personally nabbed a Victory Festbier and posted up at The Town Dish red carpet, inviting one and all to flash their pearly whites in celebration of the accomplishments that evening. Barnaby’s was slinging Dogfish Head, Flying Fish, Samuel Adams and more craft brews on draft for the big event so guests had their choices cut out for them.
No matter what your drink of choice happened to be, they all paired well with the post-run complimentary eats. Tired bodies were re-energized by the penne pasta, chicken, salad and more but I think it was the good company that kept spirits high in the end. In fact, just when you thought the crowd might start to dwindle and worn legs would retreat to their nearby couches for the rest of the night, winners were announced for various age groups, male and female, plus the best fundraising group, Team Stanley, was recognized.
However, the biggest announcement came after the event had passed, once the numbers were punched and figures tallied. The great group of runners, volunteers, sponsors and event organizers for the 3rd Annual STOMP Cancer event raised over $20,000.00. The funds are now ready to be put toward a great cause since this affair was just one of many in the Hope for 100 Challenge, a campaign striving to directly pay household bills for 100 families battling cancer in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
The long term goal of the Hope for 100 Challenge is to raise $150,000. Although, the West Chester STOMPS Cancer event was an excellent contribution to Bringing Hope Home’s ultimate objective there are many other ways to raise funds now until the campaign ends on December 31st. In fact, upcoming events like the 2nd Annual Ruby Run 5K/Walk and the Philadelphia Zoo Triple Threat will also support families right in the community. Plus, you can always donate, form a fundraising page, adopt a family, or participate in a holiday family gift drive to make a difference.
I suggest taking a peek into the 3rd Annual West Chester STOMPS Cancer event by way of this photo album, and get psyched for the many events to come. Pencil a few in your planner and, if you’re feeling really ambitious, start training for next year! Stompers are always welcome.
Team Stanley & Runner photographs credited to Kate Cardarelli.