Cancer advocates host Burnt Butt 5K
By ELIZABETH GOLDEN
He died when she was 14, and it left an impact -- an impact worth fighting for.
Paula Flesher, executive director of the Cancer Council of Ellis County, has been fighting for those affected by cancer for more than 15 years.
"My dad passed away when I was 14," she said. "He had lung cancer. At the young age of 14, it makes an impact that you don't have your dad around because of (cancer). Years later, my mom went through colon cancer; a brother-in-law had skin cancer. It's out there in every family."
The organization is hoping to raise funds to help those in need by organizing the second annual Burnt Butt 5K.
The event is in collaboration with Blues, BBQ & Bargains, hosted by Downtown Hays Development Corp.
All proceeds benefit Cancer Council of Ellis County.
"Every penny we earn goes to the Cancer Council of Ellis County," said Janet Kuhn, chairwoman of the 5K. "Every penny stays here in the county to help patients with financial assistance and nutritional supplements."
The Cancer Council of Ellis County uses the funds to help individuals affected by cancer, as well as educate community members and give away sunscreen.
Flesher said the organization financially assists 18 to 20 cancer patients annually, in addition to giving away more than 3,000 sunscreen packets.
"We have sunscreen packets at the pool and give them away at events," Kuhn said. "Any child who needs sunscreen at the pool can put on sunscreen, so we're preventing cancer. We may not see the effect of that for more than 30 years. As far as I'm concerned, we're helping thousands of people by providing the sunscreen."
Kuhn's grandmother died because of cancer.
"She was the first death I really remember going through," she said. "It was devastating, so I have become very passionate about this cause. I see how we're helping individuals that really need us in a very difficult time in their lives."
Kiss the pig will take place at the event to raise money as well. Community members can donate by placing votes in the contest. Each vote is $1.
"We have four celebrities from the community offer their services," Kuhn said. "Whoever has the most votes will get to kiss a live pig. Every penny these celebrities earn will go to the Cancer Council of Ellis County."
Registration for the Burnt Butt 5K will begin at 6:45 a.m. July 19 at 10th and Fort. Kiss the pig will follow at 9 a.m.