The all-time total to cystic fibrosis research has hit $541,000, thanks to the record number of participants who gathered at Lee University to participate in the community-popular fundraiser, according to Vanessa Hammond, a CF parent and Great Strides co-chair.
All donations for the Lee University Great Strides event go toward the CF Foundation’s research and care programs to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis.
“The huge crowd and energetic participation was a wonderful source of support and encouragement to the many families and individuals who are directly affected by cystic fibrosis,” Hammond said.
This year’s Great Strides included the 10th annual 65 Roses 5K, with 825 runners registered for the race and the 12th annual Great Strides walk, bringing out over 275 walkers on 26 teams.
Winners for 65 Roses 5K were Caleb Morgan, leading the men with a time of 16:06, and Maggie Opelt, first to cross the line for women with a time of 18:49.
The road race was directed by Dr. Bill Estes, department chair in the Helen DeVos College of Education.
“This year was a big step up in everything, from money raised, to number of runners and walkers, to community and corporate sponsor involvement,” Estes said. “If you consistently put on a quality event, you gain a lot of traction in a community. I think this year we saw these pieces come together.”
Run and walk sponsors for Great Strides include Garden Plaza/Life Care Center of Cleveland, Ralph Buckner Funeral Home, Ed Jacobs & Associates, Easy Auto, First Tennessee Bank, Bank of Cleveland, Tri-Con Inc., People for Care & Learning, Caldwell Paving & Grading LLC, Crawford’s Pharmacy, SouthEast Bank & Trust, Brown Stove Works Inc., SkyRidge Medical Center, Southern Heritage Bank and Dr. Paul and Darlia Conn.
Media sponsors included the Cleveland Daily Banner and Mix 104.1 FM. Community sponsors included Ken and Brian Beard (Center for Cosmetic Dentistry), Cleveland Utilities, Hardee’s, Don Ledford Auto Park of Athens, Logan-Thompson Law Firm, Mars Chocolate North America, Regions Bank, Restoration Bible Church, Scenic City CrossFit, Tennessee Valley Urology Center, Jim and Sue Sharp, and Dale and Brenda Hughes.
In-kind sponsors included Panera Bread, C.G. Roxane (Crystal Geyser Water), Mars Chocolate, Lookout Mountain Tomato & Banana Co. and Merck.
Also assisting in this year’s Great Strides event were the Chattanooga Track Club, Cleveland Police Department and Bradley County Emergency Medical Service.