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Virtual UMass Cancer Walk and Run to take place Sept. 13

By Kylee Denesha

UMass Medical School Communications

September 03, 2020

On Sunday, Sept. 13, the quad on the UMass Medical School campus will be unusually quiet. Instead of thousands gathering in person to walk or run in support of cancer research, care and clinical trials at UMMS, supporters will be participating virtually in the 22nd annual UMass Cancer Walk and Run.

Programming kicks off at 10 a.m. and will include remarks from cancer researchers and clinicians, medical school and local leaders; check-ins with fundraising teams and cancer patients; and recognition of the event’s numerous sponsors. The event will also feature special guest and Central Massachusetts native Ricky Duran, who was a finalist in season 17 of “The Voice.” The event’s theme will focus on gratitude and the importance of donor support.

Your place, your pace
In keeping with the event’s tagline, supporters are encouraged to do their walks or runs at locations and distances of their choosing, and to share their experiences through photos and video via social media on or before event day. To increase engagement and participation within the community, event organizers are also inviting supporters to participate in Walk Week Challenges during the week of Sept. 6.

“This is our first-ever virtual event and we’re so grateful this option was available,” said Rich Carr, chair of the UMass Cancer Walk and Run steering committee. “We’re glad we’re still able to bring our supporters together. Feedback from team leaders, fundraisers and sponsors about the different format has been very positive. This pandemic postponed or stopped many things, but it didn’t stop cancer and it certainly didn’t stop supporters of the UMass Cancer Walk and Run.”

According to Nanette Duquette, director of community fundraising at UMMS and the event’s lead organizer, fundraising to date has been robust.

“The community has really rallied behind us this year,” she said. “Sponsorships are up, thanks to the fantastic support of organizations of all sizes. And money raised by individuals and teams has, so far, aligned with what was raised by this point in previous years.”

As with any fundraiser, the final weeks leading to the event are crucial—and very active—for fundraising efforts.

“We’ve been seeing a lot of donation activity online and through our fundraising teams lately, which is very encouraging,” said Duquette. “To anyone who asks me how they can help, I tell them to make a gift now because every dollar matters, and only with your help will a cure be found.”

Carr and Duquette, who each have a very personal history with cancer, will co-host the online event. Anyone wishing to support the UMass Cancer Walk and Run is encouraged to do so online. Links to donate and/or start a fundraising team can be found at the event’s website: www.umasscancerwalk.org. Information about how to view the online event and participate in Walk Week Challenges will be posted there as well.

The UMass Cancer Walk and Run raises money to support adult and pediatric cancer research and care, and clinical trials of new potentially lifesaving therapies being conducted at UMass Medical School. Since 1999, the event has raised more than $14 million.