BETHLEHEM For the fourth year in a row, one group of local practitioners is giving back to the community by helping in the fight against cancer.
The Capital Region Special Surgery Race for Hope began in 2009 as a way for the Slingerlands medical group to aid families in their times of need through fundraising to provide support services. Each year, hundreds of people participate in a 5K race in the town of Bethlehem to raise thousands for those seeking treatment for brain, head and neck cancer.
“Cancer is hard enough, but the bills that come with it are like another slap in the face,” said race organizer SarahNicole Mahoney of Capital Region Special Surgery.
Those within the practice felt it was important to aid not just patients, but their families as well. In previous years, all of the money raised was divided between the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region and a patient fund at St. Peter's Hospital.
“As we did the walk, we met people who are not getting their care at St. Peters,” said Mahoney. “The money went to only one of two places and we wanted to open it up to the entire Capital Region.”
Now, the money will be given to the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region to serve as a nonprofit for the race. This new venture will allow any local organizations dealing with head, neck and brain cancer to apply for grants from the money raised at the event.
“This is great for foundations that have a lot of money to get out there, but don’t have the members to manage it themselves,” said Mahoney. “We wanted to keep (the money) local, but most funds are sent to national organizations. The Community Foundation has been a beacon for us.”
Last year, more than 500 people ran the race while several hundred more donated to the cause. Each year the event has raised about $50,000 and this year will likely be no different, according to Mahoney. One hundred percent of all registration fees, donations and corporate sponsorship money is given to those in need because the medical group pays for all expenses associated with the race.