In November 2018, I walked my first 5k for ZERO in honor of my husband, Doug, who had passed away from prostate cancer five months earlier. I realized then I wanted to get involved with this organization that was leading the prostate cancer fight.
The following year I began volunteering for ZERO beyond participating in the run/walks: I threw myself into securing donations for the Sacramento 5k, organized raffle and winner prizes, and helped out in any way I could on race day. I also volunteered at the Napa run/walk, attended men’s health fairs, and went door to door across the California capitol distributing prostate cancer information to legislators.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of ZERO’s 2020 run/walks to go virtual. At first I viewed this as such a bummer: each year I look forward to race day, when I get to see inspiring, familiar faces and walk alongside the prostate cancer community. But after a bit, I came to embrace the virtual aspect of the run/walks as a new challenge for me. So, in addition to the Sacramento race, I decided to participate in 15 (yes, 15!) locations across the nation where ZERO will be hosting a virtual race.
I started on June 20th in none other than the nation’s capital by tuning into the Washington, DC run/walk. My next event is the Gentlemen’s Stakes in Cincinnati, coming up on August 29th; I have cousins that live there and they have committed to joining “Team Doug” and participating with me as a family. After that, the races I have planned are:
- Boston, Rhode Island, and Chicago on September 12th (I’ve got 9.3 miles to walk)
- Bakersfield, Sacramento, and San Diego on September 19th
- Dallas and San Antonio on September 20th
- Portland, Seattle, and South Florida on September 26th
- Kansas City on September 27th
- New York City on October 11th (my birthday!)
That’s a lot of walking! Each location has significant meaning to me: among them are places where Doug and I vacationed, shared experiences, and created memories. Participating in multiple run/walk series that celebrates these communities across the country is such a great way to honor Doug.
While I’m sure going to miss the energy of ZERO’s usual in-person events, I am excited to make the most of what the upcoming virtual events have to offer. I hope it inspires you to get creative in your participation and raising awareness and funds for ZERO! It takes a village and together we will create Generation ZERO – the first generation of men free from prostate cancer.