Get Heeled 5K is a race and walk-a-thon founded by a local organization known as The Pink Pacers. Heading up the group, is Katy Gilliam, a longtime volunteer who helped design this event with a mission of creating a meaningful experience where the community comes together and truly makes a difference in the lives of families affected by cancer.
“It was a really powerful day,” said Katy. “We were all there together to remember the children who have lost their battle with cancer and to help children currently fighting it.”
To do this, the Get Heeled 5K honored children who have lost their lives to cancer before the event by having other children line up at the start line and read 150 names out loud, each child taking their turn. A balloon release also marked this somber occasion. Other people decorated their race bibs in honor of loved ones. And Katy’s son Scott sang the National Anthem a cappella.
“It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. There was barely a dry eye in sight,” said Katy.
Cancer survivor, Ashley Burnette of Raleigh, and her sister Olivia marked the start of the race by sounding the horn. And as the racers and walkers took off over 100 UNC athletes were there to cheer participants on and offer encouragement.
The Pink Pacers were joined by the Mary Claire Satterly Foundation, Ashley's Angels, the Mullenbergs, and Chapel Hill High School as the top fundraisers. This year’s event brought in over $53,000 and has raised over $150,000 since 2011.
One hundred percent of the money raised through registration, donations and fundraising is given directly to UNC Lineberger's Pediatric Oncology and Hematology Clinic specifically for Family Support Services.
Find out more about the Get Heeled 5K at getheeled5k.com.
More photos are available on the Get Heeled 5K Facebook page.