Many West Hartford residents, as well as thousands of others from throughout the area, traditionally participate in the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative (CT BHI) annual event in New Britain’s historic Walnut Hill Park, which will return on May 7, 2022.
Registration for the 2022 “RACE IN THE PARK” is now open. The popular event – canceled due to COVID the past two years – proudly returns in 2022, bringing people together to raise money to advance breast cancer research and education initiatives in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative (CT BHI) hosts the annual event in New Britain’s historic Walnut Hill Park, to be held this year on May 7, 2022. With generous support from the annual Mother’s Day weekend event for nearly two decades, more than $4.2 million and 105 grants have been provided for research and education initiatives, with 100% of money raised staying in Connecticut.
To register or pledge for this event, which includes a 5K Race and Walk and 4K and 1 Mile Walks, and Kids’ Challenge, visit www.ctbhi.org. Early adult registrants will receive an early bird special price of $26 through Feb. 14, and the registration fee will increase incremental during the following weeks. Registration is $15 for youth age 13-17. Children 12 & under are $12 to participate in the Kids Fun Run. Safety protocols will be observed, consistent with local, state and national guidelines.
Honorary Co-Chairs for the 2022 RACE IN THE PARK are Connecticut Lt.Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart, and Kristen Zarfos, M.D., F.A.C.S., Medical Director of the Karl J. Krapek, Sr. Comprehensive Women’s Health Center at Trinity Health of New England Medical Group’s Saint Francis Hospital.
The RACE IN THE PARK brings statewide benefits. The money raised has funded grants provided to breast cancer research and education initiatives across the state, including in Bridgeport, Danbury, Farmington, Hartford, Middletown, New Britain, New Haven, Norwalk and Stamford. In recent years, researchers at MidState Medical Center, UConn Health Center, Yale University, Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Middlesex Hospital, Norwalk Hospital, Hospital of Central Connecticut and Stamford Health are among the grant recipients.
“100% raised in Connecticut. 100% stays in Connecticut,” said Joyce Bray, president of the CT BHI Board of Directors. “Every person who participates, every dollar donated, brings us closer to the next breakthrough and ultimately a cure. And there is groundbreaking research underway right here in Connecticut that we are proud to support, thanks to our dedicated donors, participants and volunteers.”
Even as much of the public’s attention has focused on COVID-19 during the past two years, the relentlessness of breast cancer has not diminished. It is estimated that about 3,500 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Connecticut women this year. A woman living in the United States has a 12.3%, or 1 in 8, lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. The rate of female breast cancer in Connecticut’s population is the second highest in the U.S. Exclusive of skin cancers, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.
The RACE IN THE PARK – always a family-centered day – will again offer options including a 5K run, a 4K walk, a 1-mile walk, and two Kids’ Challenges (1 mile and ½ mile). Each course includes a loop around the Historic Walnut Hill Park, and participants in the 5K also run through the surrounding neighborhood. Racers can expect to see enthusiastic local residents standing on their front lawns, cheering them on as they go by.
“The entire community really comes together to support this wonderful family day,” Bray observes. “Our volunteers are the backbone of the event. They are extraordinarily dedicated and ensure that all goes smoothly, which makes it a truly memorable experience for everyone who participates. So much has changed during the past year, but breast cancer continues. It does not stop. Our vision is a world without breast cancer, and we know that research is the answer to cancer.”
The RACE IN THE PARK celebrates survivors with a RACE Day Survivor Breakfast at the start of the day. Details on the Survivor Breakfast will be announced in the coming weeks.
The RACE IN THE PARK was held virtually last May, with tremendous community support from people near and far contributing to the success of the effort despite the challenges. Then in October, despite reduced fundraising due to the pandemic, CT BHI continued to provide grants to Connecticut facilities on the frontlines of breast cancer healthcare and research. Grants were awarded to UConn Health for research into Novel Therapeutic Targeting of Metastatic Breast Cancer; the Hospital of Central Connecticut to support their Breast Health Lymphedema Program; and to Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center Breast Health Outreach Program.
While continued generosity during the pandemic was indispensable and is immensely appreciated, there’s nothing like being together. That will be evident once again on May 7. The RACE IN THE PARK brings people together, affirms community spirit, and reflects a camaraderie of respect and honor, resilience and remembrance.
“RACE Day is not only about raising money for breast cancer research, it also supports the community of survivors and honors loved ones,” explains Bray. “With generous support this year, Connecticut can lead the way in breast cancer research, advancing the work of dedicated researchers across our state.”
Anyone of high school age or older is encouraged to volunteer on the day before, or the day of, the event. More information about volunteer opportunities is available on THE RACE website. For more information about the RACE IN THE PARK or the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative, or to make a donation, visit www.ctbhi.org.
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