When Jason Hasty started running, he was looking to lose some weight and set an example for his students by pounding some pavement. He had no idea he’d be using his legs to pound cancer, too.
But raising money for cancer research at OMRF is second nature to everyone in the Putnam City school district. For 34 years, their annual Cancer Drive has spurred friendly competition among schools and taught invaluable lessons in philanthropy.
Hasty, who became the district’s physical education coordinator two years ago, quickly saw an opportunity to marry his two passions.
“I’m also on the district’s Cancer Drive committee, and with my new title, I thought, ‘What better way to promote fitness, raise awareness and money at the same time than with a local race?’”
He took his idea to the committee, and they sprinted to make it happen.
“We were told if we just broke even, we should feel successful,” he said. But that wasn’t enough for Hasty, whose efforts helped draw more than 700 participants for the inaugural event on one of the worst weather days of the year.
Despite brutal cold and wind, last year’s Cancer Classic raised nearly $8,000, which was added to the $2.8 million the district has donated to OMRF since 1976. That money has gone directly to OMRF’s cancer research – paying for laboratory equipment and supplies and funding the Putnam City Schools Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, held by Linda Thompson, Ph.D.
“This is just the beginning of what we can do with the run,” said Hasty. “More people are getting involved, because almost everyone is affected by cancer in some way during their lifetime.”
This year’s Cancer Classic will be held Nov. 7 at Stars & Stripes Park at Lake Hefner and includes both a 1-mile “fun run” and a full 5K event. Walkers and runners are welcome, and all proceeds from the events will go to cancer research at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Entry forms for the event are available online at www.pccancerclassic.com. The pre-registration deadline is Oct. 28. Runners can sign up in advance or the morning of the events, which begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 7 at Stars & Stripes Park on Lake Hefner. Runners who register online are entered for a chance to win an iPod Shuffle.
For more information, contact Lauren Nettleton at 271-7400 or at Lauren-Nettleton@omrf.org.