Colors of hope
The Light a Candle program sponsored by the Gritman Medical Foundation will host its first Colors of Hope 5k fun run at 9 a.m. Sept. 15.
“The Colors of Hope run is going to be benefiting the Light a Candle program, which is a new program here at Gritman,” said Becky Chavez, co-founder of the Light a Candle program. “The program offers comfort services to people diagnosed with cancer who are undergoing active treatment. Things like gas cards, grocery cards, housekeeping, massage — are all offered through the Light a Candle Program and the money from this race will benefit that program directly.”
Runners will start at the old Tidyman’s parking lot at 1638 S. Blaine St. in Moscow and run approximately 1.5 miles on the Palouse trail to the Jeff Martin Pavilion, which will be the turn-around point. Throughout the run, runners will be splattered with colors representing various cancers.
“We’re going to have color stations, and what we’re doing is we’re using a cornstarch based dye and at each station we’ll have color throwers that will throw color on the runners as they go by,” Chavez said.
Purple will be the main color for the event because it represents all cancers. Debi Dockins, co-founder of the Light a Candle program, said pink, yellow, green and blue will also be used to represent the various cancers. Runners will be splattered twice, once on the way out and again on the way back to the start/finish line. Purple will be the turn-around color.
“It’s going to be really fun, and it’s the first one in our area, so hopefully it will become one of our signature events for the Light a Candle program,” Dockins said.
Runners can pre-register for the event by visiting www.gritman.org and clicking on the Colors of Hope event on the events calendar or by calling 208-883-6018. The pre-registration fee is $20 and ends Sept. 10.
Runners who pre-register can pick up their packets at the Hospice of the Palouse food booth at the Latah County Fair between 4 and 8 p.m. on Sept. 13 and 14. Registration packets include a Colors of Hope sling bag, sunglasses and headband. Runners can also purchase a Colors of Hope t-shirt for $5 prior to the event.
“The Latah County fair will take place the same weekend as the run,” Dockins said. “It’s a short run and once you finish the run you’ll have a coupon to the hospice booth for lunch. We’re also encouraging people to wear their shirts to the fair for some discounts at the fair, and all the money helps people in Whitman and Latah county, so we’re keeping it local. It’s really exciting for us to know that it’s going to stay right here in our community.”
Runners can also sign up for the event between 7:45 and 8:45 a.m. on the day of the event for an additional $25 late registration fee.
The Light a Candle program began in August 2011 with a $1,500 grant from the Gritman Auxiliary to provide oncology massage for cancer patients.
“When we started putting the information out about wanting to help people in the area with cancer, a lot of the local community wanted to contribute,” Chavez said. “We went to work with Gritman Medical Center and the (Gritman) Foundation to put together the criteria for the process, and then we decided to start doing some fundraising to continue to raise money for people with cancer.”
The program’s first fundraiser was a Bunco event that raised almost $7,000. The program has raised $25,000 for local patients since it first began.
“Our goal is to spend all of it on people with cancer,” Chavez said. “When they have a cancer diagnosis and they hear about the fund, they can put their name into the fund and then we can give them the gas vouchers and the grocery coupons and then what we’re trying to do is to figure out what they want. So while we’re starting with those things, we’re hoping to expand the program to meet whatever their needs are, not just have things for them to pick from.”
Dockins said none of the money raised from the race will have administrative fees, which means that every dollar raised from the Colors of Hope fun run will be donated back to local patients.
“A lot of that is because of Gritman’s help with the race,” Dockins said. “It’s non-timed and we’re not having winners because the whole point of the race is to get through it, kind of like when people are battling cancer. It’s just doing it and getting through it.”
Chavez said the idea for the program came from a friend in Sandpoint who runs a similar program called Celebrate Life.
“My mom was a recipient of it and she was just floored to have a $25 gas card given to her by her nurse. She didn’t need it financially, but going through treatment and chemo—every little bit helps,” Chavez said. It seems everyone has a story about cancer and how it relates to them.”
Dockins said the name of the program came from a quote book owned by former Gritman CEO, Jeff Martin.
“It said ‘it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness’ so we just thought…how can we bring a little light into someone’s life when they’re going through a really dark time,” Dockins said. “It’s exciting to be able to finish something to honor people that are fighting a battle and are struggling.”
Kaitlyn Krasselt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org