Celebrating hope

Celebrating hope

Celebrate hope and survivorship with your “Survivor Sidekick” at the eighth annual Julie Richardson Procter 5K Ribbon Run Color Rush Carnaval in downtown Beaumont on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 8 a.m. to noon. 

Generously supported by presenting sponsors Provost Umphrey and Quality Mat and Title Sponsors H-E-B and Jason’s Deli, the largest color rush in Southeast Texas will feature added family-friendly activities, including calypso steel drum bands, samba dancers, a Wellness Beach Village, troupes of food trucks and a Flamingo Family Fun Zone.

Every hero needs a sidekick, and this year, the event will feature a “Survivor Sidekick” theme to honor the important people (and pets) that help us weather the storms of life. Registrants are encouraged to sign up with their sidekick and come celebrate the camaraderie of friendship.

Ribbon Run Registration is now open at: golribbonrun.org. Participants can register for $30 and begin forming fundraising teams with the top teams winning great prizes. Breast and ovarian cancer survivors are free, as well as children 6 years and younger. 

For event information, sponsorship opportunities or to register, please call the Gift of Life at golribbonrun.org or call (409) 833-3663. 

Serving Southeast Texans for 25 years, the Gift of Life offers free healthcare services for medically underserved men and women, as well as vital education for residents within seven Southeast Texas counties. Since inception, the organization has helped extend the lives of nearly 300 individuals who have been diagnosed with breast or prostate cancer and navigated through treatment and healing.

“As long as I am here, I am going to be involved with the Gift of Life,” said Quality Mat President Joe Penland Sr., a two-time cancer survivor. “The Gift of Life has been a blessing for so many people including my wife.”

Penland had a malignant kidney removed 10 years ago and also underwent treatment for prostate cancer five years ago. 

Penland said his wife Linda had a routine breast exam that revealed cancer. She had the lump removed and received treatments some 14 years ago. 

“That opened our eyes regarding the importance of early detection,” said Penland. “It’s what people need. This is a great organization to be involved with.”

Joe Fisher, managing partner of Provost Umphrey Law Firm, reiterated that it was an honor and privilege for Provost Umphrey to support this organization. 

“The Gift of Life Program saves hundreds of lives and does amazing work,” said Fisher. “As a law firm committed to helping and standing up for the those who are injured in our community, we are happy to support Regina Rogers and the Gift of Life program that have been standing up for people and benefitting the community for as long as I can remember.” 

The 5K Ribbon Run unites our community in hope and love while also raising essential proceeds for the Gift of Life Women’s Health and Wellness Initiatives that fight breast and ovarian cancer in Southeast Texas.

Following the Ribbon Run, cancer survivors will take center stage at the Celebration Ceremony (10 a.m. at Beaumont Public Library steps) for a meaningful tribute to survivorship along with recognition of the “Champions of our Cause,” top runners and teams.

Founder of Jason’s Deli, Joe Tortorice, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, explained how inspiring Rogers and her contributions to the community are.

“It’s the willingness to go the extra mile for everybody,” said Tortorice. “For those who have been given much, much will be asked. My wife and I feel very strongly about what she is doing and what this program is about — helping the underserved.”

The occasion also provides an opportunity for the Gift of Life to recognize 10 Angels Among Us Honorees, exceptional ambassadors for the organization and voices of compassion and support for women and cancer survivors.

The 2018 Angels Among Us Honorees are Wendy Ashworth; Yvette Crorey; Shareka Donald; Karen Fontenot; Karen Fuljenz; Adanna Henry; Carol Hebert; Jamie Hogge; Sherry Ulmer; and Mary Young.

“We are honored that all three Joe’s, who have been staunch supporters of the Gift of Life, are endorsing our efforts once again,” said Rogers. “Each has either experienced cancer himself and/or with a loved one and understands how challenging cancer can be for individuals who are uninsured or have high deductibles and cannot afford medical care. The three Joe’s continue to inspire us with their belief in our mission  of providing services with compassion, understanding and love and treating all Gift of Life clients with respect and dignity, no matter their individual circumstances. 

“By the way, 95 percent of the nearly 3,000 Southeast Texans who are annually screened by the Gift of Life have jobs, but they are low paying and impact their ability to take care of the food and housing needs of their family rather to seek medical care themselves. As my mother always used to say, ‘there but for the grace of God go I.’”

From January 2017 to June 2018, the Gift of Life has provided nearly 3,050 mammograms and clinical breast exams; more than 1,000 diagnostic mammograms and ultrasounds; more than 40 biopsies; and more than 25 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. All screening and diagnostic costs are paid for by Gift of Life. 

“The Gift of Life depends on the community’s support to continue our vital health and educational services,” said Executive Director Norma Sampson. “We’re committed to the deliverance of medical care for women who cannot afford insurance or their high deductibles. We are deeply grateful to the many sponsors who help fund our efforts and the hundreds of volunteers and community groups who are instrumental in our event’s success. Every team and participant who raises money for our cause is making an immeasurable difference in the community.