Mission Pink 5K goes virtual for 2020

A fundraising tradition in the Valley will be held virtually this year.

The 11th annual Mission Pink 5K Walk/Run, benefitting the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” cause, will start virtually this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020. The event, hosted by the American Cancer Society and Mission Regional Medical Center, will run until Oct. 31, 2020.

File photo of the Mission Pink event October 12, 2019. Courtesy image.

According to a press release from the MRMC, based on current guidance and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of participants, Mission Pink will be held with social distancing to benefit breast cancer patients and research. Participants can either walk or run at any location across the Valley, but four official “Mission Pink” trails have been highlighted as featured 5K locations.

The ACS and MRMC partnered with the city of Mission (Mission Hike and Bike Trail), city of McAllen (McAllen Hike and Bike Trail), city of Weslaco (Harlon Block Sports Complex) and city of Harlingen (McKelvey Park). All four “Mission Pink” trails include photo opportunities and QR codes, so participants can connect virtually during their 5K.

ACS Community Development Manager Nancy Gutierrez Garza said funds raised for Mission Pink will help the American Cancer Society fund critical patient programs in the Rio Grande Valley, breakthroughs in breast cancer research and prevention and early detection awareness and education. Over the past several years, the American Cancer Society helped more than 2,500 people in the Rio Grande Valley with cancer information, support, and help with patient services or programs.

Though there won’t be the usual “sea of pink” displayed, participants are encouraged to share their photos online with the hashtags #MSABCRGV, #MissionPink, #MissionPinkVirtual and #BibPic. All funds raised during this 5K stay in the Valley.

“If they can’t register for the walk, they can also do donations,” Gutierrez Garza said. “They can even create their own fundraisers and support the cause.”

The walker fee for the 11th annual Mission Pink 5K is $25, and the runner fee is $30. Teams can still sign up as a group online.

“Under the best of circumstances, a cancer diagnosis can be frightening and devastating,” Gutierrez Garza said. “Now, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hurt our communities, cancer patients – many who already have compromised immune systems – are more vulnerable than ever.”

Gutierrez Garza said it is important to raise funds to support breast cancer patients and create a sense of community for survivors and caregivers.

“We’ve lost a lot of our fundraising this year – at the beginning of the year we had a lot of Relay for Life events, and we just weren’t able to make as much money as we had in previous years because most of them ended up going virtual at the last minute,” Gutierrez Garza said. “We know it’s not the same, but we need that fundraising to help our patient services so that we can make sure to continue with our 1-800 number patients can call, we can continue to have our website with the most important information out there and of course for cancer research. Without this money we aren’t able to fund as many grants, and that’s super important because cancer doesn’t stop. We can’t stop either.”

The Mission Pink event aims to raise awareness on the importance of breast self-examination for the early detection of breast cancer. Last year, over 3,000 people traveled to Mission Regional to participate. 

The press release stated it was one of the largest breast cancer walks in the Rio Grande Valley and drew people from as far away as Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Monterrey, Mexico. Additionally, MRMC’s “Mission Pink” was one of the first events in Hidalgo County to advance the importance of awareness and early detection of breast cancer, while raising vital funds for education and the treatment of breast cancer. 

“As a non-profit organization, Mission Regional Medical Center is always proactive about engaging in activities that will benefit the health of the community,” Kane Dawson, the Chief Executive Officer of the Mission Regional Medical Center, said. “And Mission Pink does exactly that – it reminds women to get themselves checked and schedule their annual mammograms.” 

Gutierrez Garza said they are hoping that the extension of both the dates and 5K locations will draw even more participants to this year’s event.

“You can do it from anywhere you like,” Gutierrez Garza said. “That’s what we’re hoping for.”

To learn more about the 11th Annual Virtual Mission Pink 5K walk/run benefitting “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” and how to become involved, visit MissionRMC.org or contact Nancy Gutierrez Garza  at (956) 566-6710 or [email protected] Registration information for the event is located at www.makingstrideswalk.org/riograndetx.

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