10th Annual Blood, Sweat, and Tears Fundraiser
For the past decade, the Emily Whitehead Foundation has had the privilege of being the beneficiary to the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Run held in the greater Harrisburg area. Each year this event has been led by Emily Whitehead Foundation board member and leukemia survivor Tom Garrett.
In his own words, Tom summarizes this year's fundraiser—and shares his many thanks to the local running community that has generously embraced our mission to Activate the Cure!
After a brief hiatus of one year, the Blood, Sweat and Tears Run returned for its 10th time this year. And it was only appropriate that the tenth annual Blood, Sweat and Tears coincided with Emily being 10 years cancer free, and considered cured! We like to think this year’s event was a perfect 10.
The running gods smiled on us and gave us a beautiful, albeit somewhat chilly, morning for our run at Shay’s Field in Mt. Gretna — but the forecast was for zero percent chance of rain, and that is all that mattered.
The 2022 BST run was special for two ways: Not only could we celebrate Emily being ten years cancer free, but it gave us an opportunity to honor a long time friend of the running community, Mike McCauley.
For those who don’t know, Mike was an ultramarathoner who had a passion for raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer. He saw his own son go through a battle with cancer and became a good friend of the Whitehead family. In fact, while we were holding our 2019 BST run, he was running from Hershey to Philadelphia (and back) to raise money for the Emily Whitehead Foundation. Mike left us unexpectedly in 2021 but his impact lives on. To keep his memory alive, some of his good friends joined us this year to help keep Mike’s dream alive. And their help was valued and appreciated as they vigorously promoted our event and helped us by putting cones out, stocking water stops, serving as bike sweep, providing DJ services, helping with registration, working with race timing and assisting me with clean up after the event.
Making the day more special was having Channel 21's own Tom Russell join us as co-host. Tom has a longtime interest in helping fight cancer and is always quick to volunteer to help do his part. By 8:30 a.m. registration was in full swing and Jeff, our DJ, was getting the crowd pumped up with music. A special thanks to Samantha who did a brief warmup to help the runners and walkers get ready to go the distance.
We also greatly appreciated the support of the South Londonderry Police Department and the Campbelltown Fire Police who were out on the course ensuring everyone had a safe event. We are also thankful for the support from the kids at the Hershey Christian Academy who came out to help and many of them ran the course with their parents. In fact, they brought our two youngest participants ever, Harper and Isabella. Though only five years old, they were out there running for a cure.
Shortly after 9:00 a.m. we began our opening remarks and welcomed everyone to our tenth annual event. We shared how our tenth year is extra special in that Emily is now ten years cancer free. Then we thanked everyone for sharing in our mission of seeing every child go home from the hospital cancer-free like Emily did.
Then Tom Russell reviewed the courses and encouraged everyone to stick around after the run to eat from the Mad Dash food truck, buy raffle tickets, and check out the baked goods sale. Finally, Kelly made a few remarks about Mike McCauley and the type of person he was and his impact on others. Then it was go time as the horn blasted and the 10th annual BST run was underway!
Over the course of the next 30 minutes to 2 hours, the runners and walkers all made it back to the finish line with smiles on their faces. I’m sure the water, chips, and bananas all tasted good after a great run in the chilly morning air. It was great to see so many people stick around afterwards to cheer in the other participants along with buying food, raffle tickets and baked goods. In the end, we raised over $3,000 for the Emily Whitehead Foundation!
Overall, it was an excellent day and we could not have been more pleased. We appreciate every person who came out to support us and our dream of funding less toxic and more effective treatments for children battling cancer — and we especially appreciate the members of our BST planning committee and all those who helped out that day!