New this year: 5K around Camp Harkness

By KATHLEEN EDGECOMB

This year’s annual Walk Across Southeastern Connecticut fundraiser for the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation will offer a new 5K, in addition to the full marathon, half marathon and quarter marathon from Old Saybrook to Waterford.

Registration is open for the 14th annual walk, which will be held Oct. 5, 2019. A full marathon starts in Old Saybrook and follows a route along the shoreline, ending at Camp Harkness. The half marathon starts in Old Lyme, and the quarter marathon begins in downtown Niantic. Shuttles will be available to bring people back to their cars following closing ceremonies, which begin at 3:45 p.m.

All the money donated from the walk goes directly to cancer research. To date, the New London-based non-profit has raised $4.4 million and awarded grants to 44 researchers searching for a cure for breast cancer and better ways to treat the disease.

The family friendly 5K, or 3.1 miles, will follow a trail through Camp Harkness and Harkness State Park, with stops at scenic spots for photographs. Children, strollers and pets on leashes are welcome to walk. Same-day registration begins at 1:30 p.m., and a staggered start begins at 2 p.m.

There will be soups, ice cream, drinks and snacks. Group yoga stretching sessions and lawn games such as ring toss and corn hole also will be available. Families and supporters can bring chairs, blankets and picnic baskets and welcome those crossing the finish line.

“We encourage people to stay and cheer on the walkers as they enter Camp Harkness,” said Kate Davis, TBBCF walk chair.

Registration for all legs of the walk is $25 prior to Aug.1 and $30 after that. Participants for the 5K must commit to raising $150 by Dec. 31, 2019. The fundraising commitment for the full marathon is $500; $250 for the half; and $200 for the quarter. The commitment for cancer survivors $100, and the same for students ages 12-22.

For more information and to register, go to tbbcf.org, email info@tbbcf.org or call (860) 437-1400.

The idea for a shorter walk came from a longtime Terri Brodeur supporter who, because of an injury, could no longer walk even the quarter marathon.

“She’s a young mom and she still wanted to participate,” said Davis. “She planted the seed and it has evolved into this day of family fun.”

The signature fundraiser brings in about $300,000 every year, which is awarded in the form of grants to researchers, physicians and PhDs who are studying to find a cure for breast cancer and better ways to treat patients with breast cancer.

Davis is excited to introduce young people to the passion and bravery of the survivors who walk and to those who walk in honor of loved ones.

“Hopefully, these young kids will see the end of breast cancer and we won’t have to keep doing this,” she said. “Wouldn’t that be fantastic if these young kids, in their lifetime, can see it happen?”

TBBCF was established in 2006 with the commitment to direct 100 percent of fundraising dollars to breast cancer research. It is named for Terri Brodeur, a young mother of three from Old Saybrook who died from the disease.