By Kirstie Boone and Claire Harvin
On Saturday, Oct. 22, Palmetto Health Foundation and Palmetto Health Breast Center will celebrate years of innovation, enhancements and inspiration at the 26th annual Walk for Life and a new Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon. Thousands of walkers and runners are anticipated at this event.
Walk for Life was founded in 1991 when Beth Cobble, former first lady of Columbia, collaborated with leaders of Palmetto Health Baptist to create an event that educates both women and men on the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Since then, it has grown into a citywide fundraiser with proceeds totaling more than $8 million for the latest technology, programs and services for patients and families.
Walk for Life is celebrating a new Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon this year. The Famously Hot Pink Half Marathon features a new route, highlighting the Congaree River, historic Elmwood Park, Riverfront Park and other areas of downtown, as well as areas significantly impacted or devastated by Columbia’s October flood.
This year’s race, along with celebrating breast cancer survivors, will also celebrate the recovery of Columbia’s strong community. “One of the things we want to accomplish with the routes is to give walkers and runners — both out-of-towners and locals — moments to reflect on the October flood and to see how our wonderful, vibrant city has recovered or is making great strides toward recovery,” says Ashley Dusenbury of Palmetto Health Foundation.
The walk and certified race routes will give participants an opportunity to observe the community’s restoration and are designed to show off the city of Columbia, all centered around Spirit Communications Park. The race will begin just outside Spirit Communications Park and will end inside.
The event also offers 5K and 10K options for runners and walkers. All races are administered by Strictly Running, and Palmetto Health Foundation will host an expo for participants the day before the race at Spirit Communications Park.
Proceeds from this event benefit Palmetto Health Baptist Breast Center, which is the largest provider of screening and diagnostic breast imaging services in the Midlands — the center performs an average of 40,000 mammograms per year. This year, proceeds will help purchase a 3D mammography unit for Palmetto Health Breast Center at Baptist. This unit will be used for screening and diagnostic mammograms and will improve the early detection of breast cancer.
To register, learn more, volunteer or donate, please visit WalkForLifeColumbia.org or FamouslyHotPinkHalf.org. Registration includes an event shirt and a special pink bandana for breast cancer survivors.