In Putnam City Schools, their mascots—the pirate, the patriot and the panther—have more in common than just alliteration. They also represent a district-wide effort to help eradicate cancer.
For 40 years, the Putnam City district has joined forces with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation to fight cancer. Now, they’re lacing up their running shoes for the eighth annual Putnam City Cancer Classic, which will be held on Nov. 14 at Wheeler Park in Oklahoma City.
The event will feature two races to benefit research at OMRF, beginning with a 5k at 8:30 a.m. and a one-mile Fun Run at 10 a.m.
“We plan on anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 participants in this year’s event,” said event coordinator Jason Hasty. “The first event drew about 500 people or so and the past six have all been more than 1,000. This year we’re hoping for about 1,200 and are confident it will only continue to increase as the years go by.”
The run, said Hasty, has raced ahead of Putnam City Cancer Drive events to become a tent pole in the district’s fundraising efforts.
Hasty, who manages a federal physical education grant and serves as the physical education coordinator for the district, had the idea to get kids and their families up and moving with a 5k eight years ago at the height of his time as a runner. He knew then that partnering with OMRF was a natural fit.
“OMRF and Putnam City have been connected for decades through donations and fundraising endeavors, so it just made sense to add this event. It goes right along with what our district is committed to doing with OMRF, and we thought it would be a great way to contribute to that cause,” he said.
Since 1976, the district has raised more than $3.3 million for the fight against cancer. It has funded the purchase of laboratory equipment and supplies and established the Putnam City Schools Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research at OMRF, which is held by Linda Thompson, Ph.D.
This has assisted with a number of breakthroughs, including research from Thompson’s lab leading to the world’s first genetic-based risk assessment test for breast cancer.
“The Putnam City Cancer Classic is such a meaningful event for both the district and OMRF,” said OMRF Senior Development Associate Allison Parker. “We love how the run has grown over the years, and it is remarkable to see so many people working together to fight such a terrible disease. This is yet another reason why OMRF and Putnam City’s relationship is so special and one OMRF will continue to nurture for years to come.”
To register or find additional information, please visit www.pccancerclassic.com.