By RJ Walters / For the Citizen Patriot
When the gun goes off for the first race of the 24th Citizen Patriot Running/Walking Series on Saturday, the bang will do more than start a race.
It also will signal that funds are being raised for worthy causes in the area.
The Orthopaedic Rehab 8k/5k, the only 8k run on this year’s eight-race schedule, will provide an avenue to raise money and awareness for bone marrow and cancer research.
The money raised is expected to have an immediate impact locally.
An employee of Orthopaedic Rehab Specialists P.C. in Jackson recently had a 6-month old child undergo surgery to have a brain tumor removed.
The operation was successful, but the family was left with numerous medical bills while facing future visits to a doctor and raising another child.
Karyn Clow, the business development director for Orthopaedic Rehab Specialists, said the money will help the family with expenses. A fund also might be started for continued research and prevention of pediatric brain tumors.
“I think there’s definitely a lack of awareness out there, and by doing this we hope to bring awareness to this and have people make contributions to the research fund to help families out and find out why this is happening,” Clow said.
A portion of the proceeds from the race also will support what race director Bob Gilmore calls the “marrow-thon.”
Participants and community members are encouraged to sign up at Kuhl’s Market to be bone marrow donors and money will be donated to that cause. Proceeds from the race also will benefit the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life, which will have volunteers at the event.
When it comes to the competition itself, Gilmore said he’s looking forward to seeing which runners have shaken off the rust of winter and are ready to take home top honors in the series.
“We’re one of two races in downtown Jackson and the 8k goes through the southwest side of Jackson, past some big old homes near Franklin and W. Washington,” he said. “It’s not as flat as some people think Jackson is. It’s got some challenging hills for the people.”