Colorful cause

Colorful cause

Join the Gift of Life and thousands of “Champions of the Cause” as downtown Beaumont erupts in color Saturday, Oct. 1, at the sixth annual Julie Richardson Procter 5K Ribbon Run Color Rush presented by the Byrd Law Firm, with title sponsors H-E-B and Jason’s Deli.

The event starts at 8 a.m. at City Hall with same day registration at 6 a.m.

Start in your choice of white outfit or Ribbon Run shirt and by the end of the 3-mile run/walk, you will become a walking work of art. The “color” is an eco-friendly 100 percent natural corn-starch that is safe and easy to wash out, according to Gift of Life’s website.

But whether you would like a dash of color or choose to enjoy the journey “color-free,” this family friendly event comes packed with lively music and entertainment, an interactive wellness village, and a kiddie fun zone.

Most importantly, in a sea of vibrant color, frilly tutus, garish wigs and bright, beautiful smiles is the message on prevention and treatment. And the cause? Raising funds and sharing hope for those affected by breast, ovarian and other gynecological cancers.

“Throughout all the hardships, I never lost my hope or inspiration because of my family and the amazing efforts of the Gift of Life,” said breast cancer survivor and Ribbon Run Co-Chair, Sherry Paschal, who is chairing the event with her friend, Christy Simon. “I am so thankful to be involved with this phenomenal organization and look forward to making this the most incredible Ribbon Run ever!”

All funds raised benefit the Gift of Life’s breast and ovarian cancer initiatives, which impact thousands of local women every year. Along the route, breast and ovarian cancer educational awareness messages will be shared to underscore the mission of the event.

Following the 5K, a poignant Celebration Ceremony, sponsored by Previty Clinic for Surgical Care, will emphasize the Gift of Life’s critical message, while honoring the strength and courage of cancer survivors.

How to build your team

Gift of Life’s website — — makes it easy to register, said Blake Royer, marketing coordinator for the Gift of Life.

“It’s a really quick and easy process to start a team,” Royer said. “You just have to figure out who is going to be the team captain and then … just go onto the website and click “register,” “form a team” and fill out a quick form to get registered. From there, they can go on and either add the rest of their team members themselves — which is just a quick little form to fill out again — or everybody else can go register themselves and join the team. They can find the team pretty easily by simply typing in the team name.”

Those interested can walk as individuals, as well. For more information about the event, call (409) 833-3663 or visit


Presenting sponsor Jason Byrd, founder of The Byrd Law Firm, is a community activist who provides pro bono services and sponsors charitable organizations and events that support the battle against cancer, said Norma Sampson, Gift of Life executive director. 

Title sponsor Joe Tortorice Jr., founder of Jason’s Deli, has dedicated his life to the philosophy of “servant leadership,” fostering in his company a culture of encouragement, humility, gratitude, generosity, accountability and commitment, according to Sampson.

A champion of the Gift of Life’s cause for nearly 20 years, title sponsor H-E-B has been an invaluable community partner in the organization’s provision of free cancer screenings for medically underserved women and men and preventative educational outreach programming throughout seven Southeast Texas counties, Sampson said. In 2011, H-E-B increased its advocacy of Gift of Life initiatives by becoming an annual title sponsor of the Julie Richardson Procter 5K Ribbon Run Color Rush, heightening awareness of breast, ovarian and other gynecological cancers. H-E-B’s commitment has contributed immeasurably to its success with more than 6,000 participants who walk or run, she said.

About the Gift of Life

The Gift of Life has provided underserved Southeast Texas women with more than 30,000 free mammograms, clinical breast exams and additional diagnostic tests, when needed, as well as full access to treatment should cancer be discovered; the lives of more than 200 women have been extended through the Gift of Life’s efforts, according to statistics provided by the non-profit. The Gift of Life offers transportation, bilingual staff and volunteers, childcare and nutritious snacks.