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Colors for Cancer Run Benefits Healing Arts Program

Health and Wellness

UKIAH, CA – The Ukiah fairgrounds was vibrant with color, as the first ever Colors for Cancer Color Fun Run/Walk was held on Sunday, September 20 at the Ukiah Fairgrounds, with hundreds of participants raising more than $10,000 for the Focus on Healing program, which provides programs such as dance, art and music therapies that promote the quality of life for patients and their families dealing with cancer. 

The atmosphere was as bright and hopeful as it was fun with more than 300 runners, walkers, joggers, survivors and family members all who came to experience the joy of camaraderie and color while honoring the strength and courage of cancer survivors and raising funds for the Focus on Healing program at Ukiah Valley Medical Center (UVMC).

Sponsored by Ukiah Alliance Auto Service, Jennings Ackerley Architecture and Design of San Francisco, Jones Lang LaSalle, North Coast Striders, and Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, the event attracted participants from all over the county, some from as far as Fort Bragg, with some cancer survivors themselves and others who had family members dealing with cancer or had lost their fight.

“I’m overwhelmed with the community’s support, shares Allyne Brown, director of Philanthropy at UVMC. “However, this is not surprising because almost everyone in the community knows someone who is affected by cancer, and that is exactly how the idea for the Focus on Healing program came about. We wanted to offer cancer patients and their families the whole spectrum of care that extends beyond what most advanced medical treatments can provide.” 

Charles Ackerley, one of the sponsors, came all the way from San Francisco to participate and show his support. “I know so many people who have been touched by cancer, including my wife. We know what it’s like. That’s why we are proud to support anything that helps cancer patients through their journey.”

The race started at 10: 00 a.m. and participants were doused with color at color stations throughout the course to signify the many colors of cancer, from pink for breast cancer to teal for ovarian cancer. Various local groups such as the Ukiah High School (UHS) wrestling team, Starz Cheerleaders, Ukiah Junior Academy, UHS Cross Country team, St. Mary’s School students, and Herbalife representatives also volunteered their time to make the event a success.  

Friends Mandy Cleary and Beverly Shadwell, both from Fort Bragg, are cancer survivors who came in hopes of inspiring others to push through. Cleary, who battled Hogdkin’s Lymphoma three years ago says it helps to know others are going through the same thing. “I met her (Shadwell) at an online support group and we’ve 
been friends ever since. Cancer is tough, but having someone with you through it all, from losing hair to the emotional toll, really helps. I came today because I want others to know there is hope and that I know what they are going through,” says Cleary.

“I have seen many color runs before, but I came to this one because this is for a cause that’s close to my heart. It provides support beyond the medical needs for those going through cancer. It is a difficult journey and every little thing, whether is music or arts, can help,” Shadwell adds.

Some came to honor a friend or a family member who have passed away from cancer. Tiffany Edwards came with her children and friends to honor Jim Davis, a friend and a neighbor who lost his battle with lung cancer in June of this year. “Jim wanted to participate in this race, but cancer took him too fast. We are here today to honor his wish and his courage to fight the disease that he had to battle three times.” 

Patty Martin and Deana Seely came in memory of Seely’s mother, Linda Griffin who lost her battle from lung cancer in April 2014. “It’s a great program. And I know, that if the Focus on Healing program was available when my mom was struggling with her illness, it would have helped her immensely,” Seely shares. 

With the success of its first run, the Colors for Cancer Color Run is planned as an annual event to continuously create awareness for cancer and raise funds for the Focus on Healing program. 

The Focus on Healing program is offered at the Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center (CTIC) located at 260 Hospital Drive, Suite 207 in Ukiah.  The program’s mission is to reach beyond medical treatment to incorporate elements that foster physical, mental and spiritual well-being including nutritional education, art, movement and music therapies and other healing programs.To learn more about the services offered at the CTIC and the Focus on Healing program please call (707)-463-7627.

--  UVMC  --

The Cancer Treatment and Infusion Center is part Ukiah Valley Medical Center, part of Adventist Health, a faith-based, not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system serving communities in California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Our workforce of 28,600 includes more than 20,500 employees; 4,500 medical staff physicians; and 3,600 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist health values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 19 hospitals, more than 220 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 14 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers. We invite you to visit [Hospital Website] for more information.