Every spring and summer, as the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, people are looking for reasons to get outside. When a loved one is or has been affected by a terminal or chronic illness, it’s easier than ever to make that reason count.
Year-round, organizations across the globe host 5K runs and walks in order to raise awareness and funds for all types of diseases. Individual support, either physically or financially, can make all the difference in funding the research needed to find a cure.
These 5Ks are a small but significant way to show support for those struggling with a specific illness or even to celebrate the lives of those who have passed. Additionally, these events are a great way to engage in physical activity, share a meaningful experience with others who have encountered similar battles, and feel good about giving time to a cause that matters.
Finding a 5K Event Near You
Before locating a specific event, it’s important to determine which cause you’d like to donate your time, energy, and money to. Start by evaluating which diseases have affected you and your loved ones personally. For whatever disease that may be, the chances are that there’s a 5K out there fighting it. From cancer to heart disease to multiple sclerosis, these events are taking place far and wide.
Now that you’ve got a cause, it’s time to locate a specific event. One of the many beauties of the technological age is the internet, which allows you to find just about anything with the click of a button. At Race Find, 5K events are organized by state with a simple, interactive map. If cause happens to supersede location, there is also a search engine at the top of the page to search for the disease you may be looking to support.
If the internet isn’t your forte, real-world locations like local fitness centers can also be a good spot for finding out about philanthropic walks and runs in your area. Fliers for these types of events can typically be found on a bulletin board or at the front desk of most gyms.
Fundraising Tips & Tricks
Some 5Ks have the goal of simply raising awareness about a specific disease. Others work to raise as much money as possible to fight that disease. The latter group helps make significant impact by funding the cutting-edge research that leads to breakthroughs in these areas. So for those participating in this type of 5K event, you’re going to want to tap into your network to raise the most money possible.
The first step in effective fundraising is developing a pitch. People don’t just want to know what you’re running for. They want to know why you’re running for that cause. Before asking for a donation, lead with how this disease has affected you and your loved ones personally. This allows potential donors to understand the cause more intimately than they would if you offer a textbook definition. Eye-opening statistics on people affected globally can help to persuade, but your story should be central to your pitch.
Again, technology makes actually delivering this pitch easier than ever. Perhaps the easiest way to spread the word is to reach out to family, friends, and others through popular social media tools like Facebook posts, Linkedin pages, and direct messages to potential donors. These conversations can also take place in a friendly, yet detailed email or text message.
Most fundraising 5Ks will provide participants with a link to share for registration and donations to their cause. If this happens to not be the case, fundraising websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe are great resources for keeping all donations organized in one place. These websites offer users the opportunity to share their stories, set a fundraising goal, and virtually connect with potential donors. Sharing a link to a specific page can cause a ripple effect that results in funding not just from direct connections, but from external networks as well.
Walking the Walk
After all of the preparation and fundraising comes the time to actually complete the walk or run. For some, this is the fun part. For others, it’s more difficult. It’s not uncommon for people to bring elderly loved ones or those affected by the disease with them to these events. However, it’s important to be cognizant of this loved one’s limitations. Remember: what’s important is not winning the race, but having fun, raising money for a great cause, and generating awareness.
It is also extremely important, especially in the summer, to hydrate before, after, and even during the race. Supporters will often be on the sidelines to offer participants water as they run, but runners and walkers should not hesitate to take a break at those checkpoints to catch their breath.
So prepare for a fun day of stretching, hydrating, and making long-lasting memories. Your effort to make an impact on bringing awareness to life-threatening diseases will not go unnoticed.
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