COLUMN: The colors of a great cause

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

Fundraiser runs are relatively common, especially as warmer weather arrives, and keeping up with the different runs planned throughout the year can be difficult.

But as the dust—or, more accurately, colored powder—settled from the Oak Mountain Color Run on Saturday, March 13, there was no mistaking it for another event.

Organized by Oak Mountain High School’s Student Government Association, this run is an annual fundraiser for cancer research, a worthy cause for many in the area, including Color Run Chair Katie Killian.

“It is really cool to be able to get together with a bunch of my fellow students to raise money and help fund something that is really important and needs more money all the time,” Killian said.

This year’s run saw more than 200 people racing through the park and colorful clouds of powder, hence the name of the event.

But more importantly, the 2021 run raised nearly $17,500 for cancer research through ticket sales, sponsorships and donations. The total exceeded organizers’ $14,000 goal by more than $3,000.

These funds will benefit O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB, which provides services and treatment to patients facing different types of cancer.

According to its website, the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center is Alabama’s only cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute and is “a national leader in driving cancer research, advancing new cancer treatments, engaging communities in cancer prevention and early detection initiatives, and training the next generation of cancer physicians and scientists.”

The success of this year’s event was also encouraging to people like SGA Sponsor Lauren Ingram, whose grandmother and husband’s grandparents passed away from cancer.

“Looking back, if my grandmother had access to their cancer services, she might have had a better prognosis,” Ingram said. “Seeing all the incredible work that O’Neal Cancer Research does and what we hear from people who go there means a lot to me. I just hope that through this they will be able to continue to help a lot of people.”

Unfortunately, most of us can say we have been touched by cancer, either personally or in our families and friend groups.

The initiative students at OMHS continue to show in organizing and hosting the run each year is inspiring, and I hope they realize the difference they are making in our collective battle against this relentless disease.