Lawton community fights cancer

by Ashleigh Fletcher

The Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma are gearing up for their 6th annual Spirit of Survival fundraiser.

The Spirit of Survival is a series of race and marathon events held in Lawton’s Elmer Thomas Park.

Andrea Hadley, Assistant Race Director of Spirit of Survival, was excited to introduce this year’s events.

“This year we will host three championship timed and certified races: The Hulk’n Half Marathon (13.1 miles), The Super-Twins Half-Marathon or Two-Person Relay (6.55 miles) and the Superhero 5k (3.1miles),” Hadley said. “We are also offering two non-certified events: The Superkids Marathon and the Leah M. Fitch Spirit Walk (1 mile).”

Hadley explained that racers can choose to participate in as many events as they like.

“It is possible to enter in multiple events,” Hadley said. “A person could run or walk in the morning and then come out and walk with a friend in the Spirit Walk or help their child or brother or sister in the Kids Marathon”

According to Hadley, everyone who participates is awarded even if they are not a top finisher.

“Event participants are rewarded with a finisher medal, goodie bags and placer medals,” she said. “All Event Participants will also be able to go through a special Runner/Walker Hospitality tent at the finish line.”

Hadley sent out a special Spirit of Survival challenge to Cameron University students.

“I would like to send out a challenge to CU students to find a partner to walk or run with in the two-person relay event,” Hadley said. “That is a really fun event.”

Hadley explained the theme and mission of Spirit of Survival.

“All of our race events are superhero themed,” Hadley said. “Our motto is, ‘Be a superhero in the fight against cancer.’”

Hadley described how all money raised during the Spirit of Survival will be used to save lives.

“When a person signs up to walk or run in the Spirit of Survival their monies will go directly to the cancer center’s Clinical Trial and Cancer Research Department, right here in Lawton,” she said. “There is a team of cancer research professionals who use that money to set up life saving clinical trials.”

She also included that it is imperative for the community to realize their registration fees are used for cancer research and nothing else.

“A person’s registration fee goes directly to the Clinical Trials and Cancer Research Department at the Cancer Centers of Southwest Oklahoma,” Hadley said. “It is so important that people understand that the monies do not leave the state or go towards race t-shirts or food or anything else at the Spirit of Survival event.”

Hadley mentioned that even individuals not up to walking or running can participate on race day.

“We have many volunteer opportunities at the Spirit of Survival,” Hadley said. “This is a huge event and it will take a lot of people to make it successful.”

The 2011 Spirit of Survival will take place on October 16 in Elmer Thomas Park.

More information regarding the event, registration and volunteer opportunities can be found at or by calling 580.585.5406.

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