Color Rush steps beyond the average 5K

Color Rush steps beyond the average 5K

Downtown Beaumont is shutting down traffic to show its colors Saturday, Oct. 11 – more specifically, pink and teal to symbolize support for survivors of breast and ovarian cancer, and to celebrate the lives of those who have been taken by the diseases. It’s a celebration unrivaled in the city – thousands of participants, decked out in regalia that ranges from sweatpants and T-shirts to colored Mohawks and tutus, from all walks of life and backgrounds – all coming together to unite in the fight against breast and ovarian cancer. The Gift of Life’s fourth annual Julie Richardson Proctor 5K Ribbon Run Color Rush unified more than 6,000 runners (and walkers) last year, and event organizers are planning on a similar turnout for this year’s Color Rush, heralded as “an experience unlike any other in Southeast Texas.”

Like last year, the Color Rush is back with bold color, great music, awesome atmosphere, and a mission to save lives in Southeast Texas. This year, leading the charge through the city will be co-chairs Gerry Edwards, Maureen Winchell, Jo Bienvenu, Carol Hearn and Kathleen Hambright – sisters who have banded together to support the mission. Longtime supporters of the Gift of Life, the sisters have enjoyed the work, making the years seem like days, Carol says.

“Maureen was the first one involved, and we saw how great it is, so we joined with her,” Carol says of the “Wiggins Sisters” uniting in the Gift of Life mission to have a meaningful and positive impact on the lives of local women and men. “Our mother had pancreatic cancer, and two of our aunts had breast cancer.

“I think everybody knows somebody who’s been diagnosed with cancer, so everybody has some reason to have empathy for the cause.”

And although the mission itself is a solemn affair, the Color Rush event is a great time of festivity and camaraderie.

“It’s like a community reunion,” Carol gushes. “I don’t know the secret, though, but we’re all friends and family and it’s all just so much fun!

“I’m always tickled to see people I haven’t seen in ages.”

Socializing with fellow Southeast Texans is what Carol says she enjoys best, so she doesn’t rush through the run – she takes her time and walks it out.

“I like to walk; I don’t run,” she says. “It’s like a social. It’s a 5K, but it’s like three miles, so it’s not that long. You can walk it pretty easily. If I can do it …”

Along the route, runners (and walkers) will be splashed with color and offered water at specific stations set up along the way.

“It’s fun and they take care of you,” Carol says. “What more could you ask for?”

But there is more. Also on hand for the event will be a Wellness Village, housing booths and information on healthcare, eating well, cancer awareness, smoking cessation, and much more. There will also be food trucks, prize giveaways and activities for the kids, who are always welcome at the family-friendly event.

“It’s amazing how many kids participate with their parents, and that’s always nice,” Carol says. “It is a family affair, and we like it like that.

“It’s going to be wonderful – lots of great stations with lots of great information, lots of great people, and lots of great costumes.”

What she and the rest of the Wiggins Sisters will be wearing that day, she couldn’t say.

“We aren’t real sure,” she says. “But I love when people dress up in tutus and crazy costumes. The tutus are just so cute – men and women in the tutus! Some people do really crazy things with their hair – just so much, you have to see it. It’s great!”

What’s also great, according to Carol, is that every dollar raised as part of the Color Rush program stays right here in Southeast Texas, assisting the men and women of our area with cancer diagnosis, medical care when cancer is detected, and with emotional support to those affected by the disease – not to mention a host of other services provided by the Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program.

“It’s so nice the money stays here in our community,” Carol reiterates. “It’s not with an organization that covers the whole country.

“Most people know about the breast cancer associated with the Gift of Life, but that’s not even close to what all they do. It’s also about the anti-tobacco program, and they help with other cancers besides breast cancer, they go into schools to stop kids from ever starting to smoke, they do so much no one ever hears about. It’s just a great program and (Gift of Life founder) Regina (Rogers) is so amazing, you have no idea!”

Advance Color Rush registration is easy – online at, or call the Gift of Life office for assistance at (409) 833- 3663, and toll free at (877) 720-4428. Registration is open to teams, companies, families and individuals. Registration is just $25, but participants are encouraged to raise funds for the cause and qualify for special gifts. Those who register by Sept. 26 are guaranteed a race bag, color pouch, T-shirt, and medallion. Those who register after that date will be provided those items as long as supplies last.

For those who raise above and beyond their registration fee, there are a host of possible prizes including a 60-inch HDTV, a touchscreen laptop, an Xbox One with Just Dance 2014, gift cards and more awesome prizes.

Registration packets will be available for pickup Oct. 7-9, from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. at the Beaumont Civic Center. Teams needing help with fundraising or for more information can call the Gift of Life office at (409) 861-5902 or send an e-mail to jweeks [at] giftoflifebmt [dot] org.