Annual Race for the Cure goes green

Sept. 28, 2009

GRANDVILLE — Over 5,500 people running around RiverTown Crossings mall on a weekend. For most, this sounds like a holiday shopping nightmare. For the local Susan G. Komen foundation, this was a dream come true.

The Grand Rapids affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation held their annual 5K walk and run last Saturday. The run serves as the foundations primary fundraiser for research into breast cancer research and prevention.

However, this year’s race wasn’t just about how much money to raise. It was about how to save it as well.

“This year we decided to ‘go green for pink’ and eliminate the printing of our race applications,” said Cheryl Wirsing, Secretary of the Grand Rapids Board of Directors for the Komen foundation.

According to Wirsing, the foundation sent out one postcard to remind previous participants of the race, and was their only “snail mail” sent out this year. Participants were urged to sign up online, to help cut down on printing costs.

Liz Keegan, President of the Board of Directors for the local Komen affiliate, said that the organization usually spends around $6,000 on printing applications. While some paper applications would still be available for those unable to access the online registration, the foundation hopes to have saved most of that money by pushing participants online.

Another way the Komen foundation hopes to “go green for pink,” according to Keegan, is by having their waste from race day sent to a recycling plant to convert most of the trash into energy.

“It’s important to take care of the planet as well as ourselves,” Keegan said.

Additionally, the Komen foundation saves money in part due to where the event is held. The foundation gets free use of RiverTown Crossings mall for the morning, and does not have to pay the city of Grandville for using its police for the charity event.

According to, this year’s race raised over $200,000 for the foundation. According to Wirsing, much of the money they raise annually stays within the community.

Around 75 percent of the funds raised by the race go to foundations providing information and research on breast cancer in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Montcalm counties, said Wirsing. The remaining 25 percent goes to the national scientific research foundation, involved in finding causes and treatments of the disease.

Dan Schoonmaker of Grand Rapids ran in the race on Saturday, supporting St. Mary’s hospital. For Schoonmaker, all the effort put into race day seemed to have paid off.

“It was fun,” he said.


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