On Sunday, June 3, 2018, thousands of people in hundreds of communities across the globe will hold celebrations to recognize National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual observance to honor cancer survivors, and to show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be fruitful, rewarding and even inspiring.
To celebrate this day, Integrated Medical Foundation (www.imfcares.org) along with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) is hosting Belmont Stakes 5k Run/Walk. The event will be the prelude to the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes six days later. Runners and walkers and cancer survivors will traverse a USA Track & Field-certified 5-kilometer course entirely within the grounds of Belmont Park, leading up to an exciting finish on the track at the same finish line that witnessed the Belmont Stakes triumphs of Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and American Pharaoh. There will be blood pressure screenings, prostate cancer screenings, diabetes tests and others on site.
“Come see how life after cancer is more than just surviving. It can be beautiful, abundant, and fulfilling. And that’s something to celebrate,” says Rhonda Samuel Executive Director of Integrated Medical Foundation and local NCSD coordinator. “You will find our community’s National Cancer Survivors Day celebration filled with joy, hope, camaraderie and compassion as we acknowledge our community’s cancer survivors. We will also recognize the contributions of their families, friends, and healthcare providers and raise awareness of the ongoing challenges faced by cancer survivors today.”
Everyone who registers will receive a gift to commemorate the event. Win, place and show awards will be presented to the top male and female overall and masters finishers, as well as the top male and female finishers groups ranging from 14 and under to 90 and over. Special awards will be given to the top three male and female cancer survivors. There will be free admission to the day’s races at Belmont Park for all pre-registered. Arrive early and enjoy a full day of thoroughbred racing before the event.
Jose Ortiz, the young jockey who guided Tapwrit to a big victory over favorite Irish War Cry in the 2017 edition of the Belmont Stakes, will serve as the Grand Marshall of the Belmont Stakes 5k, with NYRA’s Sam Grossman the bugler calling all runners and walkers to the post at 7:15 p.m.
“Once again, we are proud to partner with the Integrated Medical Foundation and expand our annual 5k run to celebrate survivors on National Cancer Survivors Day,” said NYRA spokesman and race co-director Najja Thompson. “The Belmont Stakes is known as the ‘Test of the Champion’ and with the Belmont Stakes 5k run and walk, we’re able to honor another kind of champion—the survivors and their supporters—and offer our support to everyone currently fighting cancer by raising awareness of the battle against cancer.”
Major advances in cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment have resulted in longer survival and therefore, a growing number of cancer survivors. However, a cancer diagnosis can leave a host of problems in its wake. Physical, financial and emotional hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment. Survivors may face many challenges, such as limited access to cancer specialists and promising new treatments, inadequate or no health insurance, financial hardships, difficulty finding employment, psychosocial struggles and a lack of understanding from family and friends. In light of these difficulties, our community needs to focus on improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.
“Despite the numerous challenges they face, cancer survivors’ serve as an inspiration to all of us,” says Rhonda Samuel. “It’s time for our community to stand with them and help find ways to lessen the burdens a cancer diagnosis brings.”