OWATONNA — Each year, hundreds of children around the nation are diagnosed with cancer, including children Steele County.
Come Saturday, locals will pull on their running shorts and lace up their sneakers to help make the kids in their area diagnosed with cancer feel like a king or queen for a day at the fifth annual For a Day Foundation’s 5K. The run/walk will benefit children and the families of children battling the disease of cancer by hosting a variety of play-themed events in local pediatric oncology units.
The event was started in 2015 to raise awareness and funds for the Southern Minnesota chapter of the For a Day Foundation, a nationwide organization that specializes in setting entertaining and supportive queen- or hero-themed events for children receiving cancer treatments. The Southern Minnesota chapter, located in Owatonna, has been able to host a wide variety of special days for children, ranging from Vikings games to arcade getaways.
In October, the Miss Minnesota organization collaborated with the For a Day Foundation to take young Lila on a spa day and shopping spree. Jason Lennox, the director for the southern Minnesota chapter, said that it’s amazing what the Miss Minnesota crew does for these kids.
“I think a lot of people maybe have a misconception of the Miss America crew,” Lennox stated. “They are always gracious and generous and have come to a lot of our hospital events. They do a lot of work and they do it for nothing.”
Most recently, the For a Day Foundation was able to send their special friend Em who was residing in the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester to the Williams Arena, home of the Minnesota Gophers women’s basketball team, via a limousine. Accompanied by her family and friends, Em was able to spend quality time with some of her idols both in locker room and on the court.
“It’s prove that some of these events and just getting away from the stress of treatment can have a powerful impact on these kids’ health,” Lennox said. “It reduces the chance of them staying in the hospital or going back.”
Over the last couple of years, the For a Day 5k has exploded in popularity. What once brought in only 40 to 50 runners in its first two years has since drawn more than 200 runners recently.
The fifth annual For a Day 5K will take place on Saturday at Morehouse Park in Owatonna. Sign-in and registration will begin at 8 a.m. with a quick program starting at 9 a.m. Registration is $30 per person, $50 per couple, and $80 per family, which includes up to four participants. Students who at 18 and under and still in school can register for $20 while kids ages 5 and under are free.
Awards for the top two in each age and gender group will be handed out with each participant receiving a T-shirt and race bag. Those who have pre-registered are guaranteed the items.
Proceeds will benefit the foundation as they continue to service families and facilities in the Southern Minnesota area.
To register, visit ForADayFoundation.org/ForADay5k. Pre-registration ends on Friday.