GREENSBORO, N.C. — Excitement is building for the Women's Only 5K Walk and Run on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
The event is back in person after two years off during the pandemic. Walkers and runners will celebrate the race's 30th anniversary at the Cone Health MedCenter for Women, and the annual event is bigger than ever.
The record registration pre-pandemic was 2,300 participants. So far this year, 2,500 walkers and runners have signed up for race day.
Jill McAllister with Cone Health says leading up to race day; organizers are signing up another 25 to 50 people a day. Some will go to support their families or friends. But most participants are breast cancer survivors ready to celebrate their journey and the hard-fought battle they have won.
"When the doctor told me that I was cancer free and no longer having to come back every three months or every six months, I raised my hand, and I thanked the Lord for the journey that he carried me through," said Rhonitta Hayes, who is now 18 months cancer free.
Hayes walked in the Women's Only 5K before to support her cousin, but right as the pandemic hit, she also discovered a lump in her breast. A biopsy confirmed it was Stage 2 cancer, and Hayes said finding it early saved her life.
"If I hadn't caught it when I caught it, I believe it would have grown faster because it was a triple negative cancer, one of the most aggressive types of breast cancer. It could have spread even more, and we eventually found a second lump in the screening before my lumpectomy," Hayes said.
This year, Hayes will walk to celebrate her two-year journey battling cancer.
"This is the first official walk where I can say I know why we are walking. Before, I knew someone who had it, but I had not gone through that journey myself. But to have gone through that journey and to have come out on the other side even better than before," Hayes said. "This does not have to be a death sentence."
The key here is not to wait. The Cone Health Mammography Bus will be at the race on Oct. 1 to provide low-cost screenings for women over 40 who have never been screened or have gone more than a year since their last screening. Cone Health will also have scholarship applications available with possible same-day approval for free mammograms. You can sign-up on race day from 6:30 am to 11:30 am.
The Women's Only 5K Walk and Run is a fundraiser for the Cone Health Mammography Scholarship Fund. The registration money and donations make it possible for women who otherwise could not afford a mammogram to access free or low-cost life-saving screenings.
You can register or learn more information here.