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Marathoners took to the streets of Downtown DeLand — and elsewhere — Oct. 23, for the AdventHealth Pink on Parade Virtual 5K to raise money for breast-cancer awareness.

AdventHealth DeLand has raised more than $50,000 thanks to the event, which began Oct. 11 and continues through Oct. 31, the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

POWER OF PINK — Althea “The Beautiful” Chavers, pictured, the director of the Springhill Boys and Girls Club, is a breast-cancer survivor. Sporting her pink tutu and ready to participate in the 5K, Chavers poses with a sign commending her for “tenacious spirit, beauty, and strength in battling cancer.”

AdventHeath Chief Nursing Officer Michele Lebron, one of the organizers, said the 5K was designed with COVID-19 in mind. Rather than participants gathering for a one-day event, there’s a virtual aspect, and AdventHealth has encouraged participants to partake throughout the month.

“We asked everybody to walk three-and-a-half miles, but we asked people to do it separately, to do it in a safe manner,” Lebron said. “If you came Downtown, you were offered a mask, but the idea was that people who did not want to go out into the community could still participate by walking by themselves, wherever they felt more comfortable.”

Oct. 23 marked the final in-person push. In the Downtown DeLand area, the 5K brought in 500 people throughout the day, according to Lebron. Marathoners were encouraged to make the Downtown circuit a few times, to hit their 5 kilometers, and to stop in stores to give back to the community.

The money raised will go toward the AdventHealth DeLand Foundation and other programs that raise awareness of breast cancer and makes services accessible for those who can’t pay.

“It’s for somebody who has a high deductible or copayment that can’t afford it. They can apply and ask for assistance,” Lebron said. “Also, for our community benefits, we have a mobile mammogram that goes around to neighborhoods, and they do 30-minute screenings.”

For Lebron, organizing the event was personal, which makes its success that much more inspiring.

“Breast Cancer is really near and dear to my heart because my aunt Cindy has been a breast-cancer survivor going on 10 years,” she said. “I think this was the most we ever fundraised for our breast-cancer survivors.”

Fundraising will continue through Oct. 31, and Lebron said she was hoping to finish strong, thanks to continued efforts from volunteers, and local businesses, like DeLand Kia, contributing some of their October earnings.

For more information, visit the fundraiser’s website at www.pinkonparade.com.

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