Race for the Cure is getting a new look — and a new name — this fall, shifting away from its longstanding 5K to emphasize research efforts.
The event, around for 25 years in the Omaha area, is a major fundraiser for Susan G. Komen Great Plains, the local chapter of the national breast cancer awareness group. When it returns to Baxter Arena in October, it will be called the More Than Pink Walk.
“You do something for 25 years, and you always want to try to think of something new and innovative to keep people engaged,” said Karen Daneu, CEO of Susan G. Komen Great Plains. “This was a more engaging way to speak to our supporters so they can understand why Komen is important and what sets us apart.”
More Than Pink will put an emphasis on Komen’s “bold goal” to cut the number of breast cancer deaths in the United States in half by 2026 or over a 10-year period, Daneu said. It will help supporters learn where fundraising dollars are going and how they’re making a local impact, Daneu said.
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Last year, the organization tested the changes in a handful of locations, including Atlanta; Hartford, Connecticut; and Milwaukee. This year, affiliates of Susan G. Komen had the option of switching to More Than Pink, and Omaha opted in. More than 60 of the events will be held nationally.
Instead of offering a timed run, like past Race for the Cure events, the event will have a 1-mile walk. The walk will follow a handful of activities inside the arena designed to showcase Komen’s core values: research, care, community and action.
Tents set up on the arena floor — where vendors have set up in the past — will include microscopes with slides showing cells with breast cancer, mannequins displaying how breast cancer can migrate to different parts of the body and postcards that can be sent to family, friends or elected officials. A larger space, set up away from the busier tents, will let people honor and remember those who have died from the disease. Vendors and sponsors will set up on the arena’s concourse.
It won’t be such a big change for the Omaha event, Daneu said. Organizers nixed the timed run from last year’s Race for the Cure because most participants walk, though some people still chose to jog the course.
“In the past, the run/walk was the focus of the event,” Daneu said. “That is part of our event this year, but it’s not the focus. Truly, the focus is going to be on making sure people appreciate and understand where their fundraising dollars are going.”
Money raised through the event, including from sponsorships, goes toward research and community programs. About 75 percent of the proceeds go toward programming in Nebraska, Daneu said.
Last year’s event raised more than $600,000 and drew about 6,000 people. Despite declines in attendance, that’s on par with what previous years have brought in. Daneu is confident that the event will continue to meet fundraising standards.
Before the 1-mile walk, opening ceremonies will recognize top donors, breast cancer survivors and those still battling the disease.
The event won’t have the same name recognition, so organizers have worked to explain the changes to supporters, sponsors and survivors.
“This is an evolution,” Daneu said. “We are still committed to our mission and our vision. This is going to help explain this better to the public.”
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