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First Virtual In Their Shoes 10K Raises Nearly $60,000 for Local Cancer Survivors

Athens, Ga. (June 11, 2020) – Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center recently concluded its first virtual In Their Shoes 10K walk/run, an annual event that honors and remembers community members diagnosed with cancer. It also serves as the main fundraising event for the hospital’s Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support, and this year’s event raised nearly $60,000, benefiting the free cancer support services the center provides. 

Originally scheduled for March 2020, the Loran Smith Center not only made the decision to postpone the walk/run in light of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), but it also converted the six miles into a virtual event, giving participants the opportunity to complete the miles from anywhere.

“Making this year’s event virtual also gave us the chance to extend participation dates, so anyone who was walking or running for In Their Shoes could sign up and do the miles through the month of May,” said Joel Siebentritt, manager of support services at the Loran Smith Center. “In Their Shoes is so important for the people in our community. It honors the many family members, friends and loved ones who’ve battled or been touched by cancer and it raises funds to support them when they need it most.”

According to Siebentritt, the virtual option didn’t deter participants and more than 300 community members registered and completed the 10K virtually, raising nearly $60,000 for the center – 100 percent of which will go to the Loran Smith Center’s services.

The Loran Smith Center at Piedmont Athens Regional offers cancer patients and their families professionally-led support programs to assist them through their journey with cancer – regardless of where they receive cancer treatment. The center’s services include support groups, educational workshops, individual and group counseling, exercise classes, complementary therapies, and a library. It also provides emotional and spiritual support to cancer patients, their families and caregivers before, during and after treatment.

Since it’s start in 2006, the event has raised more than $1.5 million for the center. 

At the end of the run/walk each year, the In Their Shoes event traditionally celebrates race participants with top 10K scores or times and also awards top fundraising teams and individuals. 

Instead, the Loran Smith Center hosted a drive-thru celebration over the weekend, so virtual participants could collect In Their Shoes T-shirts and gear and top fundraisers and participants received recognition for their efforts. The drive-thru event took place on National Cancer Survivors Day on June 7.

“We wanted to extend our thanks to all of the community members who participated in In Their Shoes, despite the special circumstances and challenges brought by COVID-19,” Siebentritt said. “Each participant has helped make a difference in life of a cancer patient or survivor in our community, and we’re very grateful for this support.”

For more information about the Loran Smith Center for Cancer Support and its free services or for more ways to give, visit piedmontathensgive.org.

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