Coloring the city for a cure: 5K benefitting childhood cancer research takes place at Frisco Square
Runners take part in a relay event held last year for TeamConnor. This year the foundation is hosting a 5K and 1-mile fun run. Photo courtesy of David Alvey.
On Saturday, Frisco Square will be "painted green" for childhood cancer awareness.
The TeamConnor Childhood Cancer Foundation will be hosting its first 5K and fun run event -- the Color Me Green 5K and 1-mile Caterpillar Dash -- on Saturday in an effort to raise money for and promote childhood cancer research.
TeamConnor was founded in 2007 for Connor Cruse, a Frisco boy who died in 2009 after a four-year battle with neuroblastoma. One of Connor's wishes was that other children wouldn't have to go through the same battle he did, so his parents, Tait and Joy, created the foundation to help fund childhood cancer research.
"My son fought for four years and went to lots of different hospitals," said Joy Cruse, who serves as the foundation's vice president of giving. "All these kids with cancer are so valiant -- it's incredible how brave they are. When people find out about our cause they usually want to do something to help, and hopefully they'll want to come [to our event]."
When TeamConnor was first created, it partnered with the Loomis advertising agency to find a logo that could represent the fight against childhood cancer.
The foundation settled on a caterpillar, as it represents a metamorphosis, or "turning into a butterfly and things getting better and new," as Cruse puts it. The color green was also chosen as research indicated green was vibrant, youthful and represented life, which is why the foundation wants race participants to either paint themselves green or don the color.
Participants can register for the event beginning at 7:30 a.m. at Frisco Square. Registration for adults costs $30, children ages 6-12 can register for $20 and children younger than 6 are free.
Event organizers are expecting anywhere from 300 to 400 runners as well as more attendees for other attractions that will be held in Frisco Square until noon.
For children, the 1-mile fun run will include numerous obstacles such as a balance beam, hoola-hooping contest and other activities. Additionally, other family-friendly attractions will be available until noon, such as a bounce house and game van.
The foundation will also accept donations as part of the event until Oct. 15, with the top fundraiser winning an iPad 2 and a drawing being held for a second iPad 2. Participants will receive an addition entries in the drawing for every $500 they raise.
While they're not yet sure how much money the 5K will bring in to help their cause, officials from the organization said spreading awareness of childhood cancer was a major factor in the creation of the race.
"This is our first 5K event, so the important thing right now is to raise awareness for childhood cancer," said Shay Allen, communications coordinator for TeamConnor. "We want people to see green and think of childhood cancer awareness, much like people think of breast cancer awareness when they see pink."
Since it was founded, TeamConnor has raised more than $1.5 million for childhood cancer research and programs.
In May, TeamConnor provided a $20,000 grant to Children's Medical Center Dallas for an art program for stem cell transplant patients. In June, the foundation gave a $50,000 research grant to Dr. Ernesto Flores of the University of California San Francisco San Benioff Children's Hospital.
Even though raising awareness is a big reason for the event, Joy Cruse said any amount TeamConnor receives will help it fund research that may one day defeat childhood cancer.
"We fund research and clinical trials in different hospitals across the country, such as San Fransisco, Houston, Dallas, New York, Cincinnati," she said. "Only 3 percent of government funding for cancer research goes to childhood cancer research. This year we've raised more than $500,000, and we want to get as much as we can for childhood cancer research."