Hosted by the Builders Association Charity, the inaugural Dash For Dads race will start with opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. From there, a 5k run will start at 9:00 a.m., followed by a two-mile walk and a kids fun run. Those interested in registering late can do so from 7:30-8:30 a.m.. All sponsorship money will go straight to PSA screening for men over 40. United Blood Services will also be on hand accepting blood donations during the event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The issue of raising awareness for prostate cancer has been around for some time now and this will be the inaugural Dash For Dads run. Like many other charity events, the Dash For Dads came about through a personal tribulation.
“One of our board members has actually been suffering with breast cancer,” said Bobbie Merrigan, Executive Director of the Builders Association Charity. “She was diagnosed with breast cancer and we all talked about everything that she went through and how many resources were available for women and how many were not available for men, which is sort of where this idea derived from.
“We started talking about something for men and thought about a run and came up with Dash for Dads. We thought prostate cancer would be a good thing to target because it’s becoming more and more prevalent, so that’d be a good place to start. That’s where it came from. So we started the planning process and now we are here which is very fun. It’s very exciting.”
Now with the race upon us and over 350 racers pre-registered, those involved behind the scenes of putting the race together are excited for the opening gun. The person that crosses the finish line first will not be the biggest winner of the day though.
“I think I’m most excited that we are going to bring awareness to people in the community,” Merrigan said. “The other day, one of my children asked me ‘Mom, what do you think is going to be a success?’ and I said ‘If we save one person’s life, we’ve done something amazing.’ For the people that share their life with that person, their presence is very important. One of the things that they get with this is all men get a free prostate cancer exam with their participation in the race. If that encourages people, if we can encourage men to just get their PSA level tested, that’s amazing. If we can get somebody diagnosed early, then the event is already a success.”
For Merrigan, educating people about prostate cancer is the main goal of the entire day.
“It’s definitely an opportunity to raise some awareness for prostate cancer,” Merrigan said. “We enlisted the help of Urology Nevada, which is the title sponsor for the event. They totally got behind it. We want men to get engaged with what’s going on with their body. The hardest thing about prostate cancer is that there aren’t any symptoms until it’s escalated to such a point that there isn’t any going back.
“Men are so unlike women. Women, we sort of spew our feelings and we’re looking to our girlfriends and our families for support and men are so not that way. Men don’t want to talk about it. Men don’t even want to tell people that they had a prostate cancer check, let alone that there might be an issue. I just think it’s important to get the wives involved and then the kids as well so that they understand that this is for dad and this is important.”
Adults will not be the only targets of the event though. With a kids fun run and a bounce house and face painting area set up, local youths will also get involved in the education.
“I think that it’s important that we get children engaged early,” Merrigan said. “I have three of my own and if we can get kids engaged early and get them to understand the importance of health and the importance of awareness, that is a big thing. Some of them aren’t going to be old enough to really grasp the whole thing but if we can get families really thinking about their health, it really is a family thing. We want a healthier northern Nevada. These are friends and family and colleagues. All of us being healthier is going to make this a better place to live.
“Hopefully everyone walks away with a clearer understanding of prostate cancer. Urology Nevada is going to have doctors out there so there is going to be a lot of knowledge and information available to participants. Hopefully they’ll feel like they’ve learned something and like they can make a difference so they’ll want to come back next year. I just want them to walk away feeling like they were a part of something really important because they truly will be. I just think that if we all come together as a community. Hopefully it will continue to grow and grow. I hope people walk away feeling like they’ve made a difference.”