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‘My Cancer Hero’ set for May 1

She started the event six years ago to bring people from across the community together against a common foe that has touched the lives of so many—to give them an opportunity to celebrate, remember and fight back.

Abbie Gardner Ballew and her team of volunteers have been preparing to cheer on runners and walkers once again as they raise funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS) and its continued fight against the dreaded disease.

The 6th Annual “My Cancer Hero” Walk/Run is set for Saturday, May 1. The event will start and end in front of Greenville’s City Hall with a 7:30 a.m. start time. Members of the National Guard will be on hand with fun activities set up in Confederate Park for the younger set before, during and after the race. Breakfast for the participants will also be served following the 5K.

“We have been in the process of registering people . . . our deadline to get your official shirt with your cancer hero’s name printed on it is Tuesday, April 20. The shirt’s cost is $10 and it’s $25 to pre-register for the race,” Ballew explained.

Miss the deadline? Never fear, says Ballew.

“You can certainly come and register with us that Saturday morning—the cost will be $30 and will not include a shirt,” she said.

If running or walking the 5K is not in the cards for you, Ballew says everyone is still welcome to participate.

“Listen, we would love for friends, family members, co-workers and classmates of our participants to come on out, hold up signs and cheer our folks all along the route,” Ballew said.

“It makes it more fun for everyone.”

Participant Lisa Townes gets some moral support from two young friends as she heads toward the finish line at the 2020 My Cancer Hero Walk/Run. This year’s event is Saturday, May 1 in downtown Greenville.

Medals will be presented to the first and second place overall finishers and to the first place male and first place female for each of the age divisions (must be 10 and up to race).

Family is never far from Ballew’s mind as she organizes and puts on “My Cancer Hero” each spring.

“My daddy, Jimmy Gardner, had lost his battle with cancer the year before our first 5K. It made me really think about ways to honor not only our daddy, but all of our cancer heroes,” Abbie explained.

“My mom and aunt are cancer survivors. I lost both of my grandfathers to cancer. And I have walked through two different cancers with one of my best friends–who beat them both by the way.”

If running or walking the 5K is not in the cards for you, Ballew says everyone is still welcome to participate that day.

“Listen, we would love for friends, family members, co-workers and classmates of our participants to come on out, hold up signs and cheer our folks all along the route,” Ballew said.

“It makes it more fun for everyone.”

As long as there are people fighting cancer across the community and around the country, Ballew plans to keep fighting with them.

“I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been touched by cancer in some form, and this is just a small way to say, ‘Hey, we see you, we love you, we will walk with you.”