Making Strides CroppedOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As women, as moms, as daughters, as sisters, as friends, as survivors, as fighters, as caregivers we are affected by this dreadful disease in so many ways. According to the American Cancer Society’s “Breast Cancer Facts and Figures, 2013-2014” report, in 2013, approximately 39,620 US women are expected to die from breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women. It affects us. All us.

There are many ways to combine your love for travel, fitness and social good by running for charity. From the smaller local runs to the well-known popular events there are hundreds of races nationwide dedicated to raising money to fight cancer and other life-changing causes. There are also several organizations that will guide and support you on your fundraising journey by providing training plans, fund-raising resources and even contributing to your travel expenses.

I’ve had the awesome privilege to volunteer with the American Cancer Society and serve on their Blogger Advisory Committee. It was through that connection that lead me to run my second marathon, the Chicago Marathon in 2011, with their DetermiNation program to raise money to create a world with less cancer. It was an extraordinary experience that continues to motivate me.

As you’re searching for your next destination race or targeting a run through the familiar streets of your hometown please consider a few ways that your steps can help stomp out cancer.

Chicago-Marathon-214Find a Race
Races raising money for charity are everywhere. You can search for local or destination races via various running sites like RunnersWorld.com, Active.com and RunningTheUSA.com. You can also search online the city or state where you would like to run for local sites and events. When considering running a race for charity make sure to do your research, read reviews, and find out where the donated funds are going. Here are a few links to some popular Breast Cancer Awareness events:

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer
Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure
Susan G. Komen 3-Day
Avon Walk

Join an Organization
I’ve run DetermiNation and look forward to doing it again. The support, resources and camaraderie they provide is amazing. It enhanced my marathon experience exponentially. Each mile was even more rewarding knowing that I was contributing to such an important and life-changing cause. It was big fun, too! They provide race-weekend VIP amenities, training plans and mentors, social events, online tools for fund-raising and more. Here’s the link to DetermiNation and a few other national running fundraising organizations:

DetermiNation
Team In Training
Susan G. Komen

Support a Runner
If participating in a race is not for you there are plenty of runners and walkers out there that need your support. Making a donation – larger or small – can make a huge difference in someone’s life. There are many ways to support a family member, friend or perhaps a general donation to the cause. Most donations are tax deductible and can be made online. Again, make sure to do your research before making your payment.

Volunteer
Race volunteers are essential in producing a successful event. There are plenty of ways to donate your time to ensuring these charity events happen. Most race websites have volunteer information posted and welcome the help. Not only will you be providing an invaluable resource, you’re also bound to witness some inspiring and magical moments.

Until next time …

Photo Credit: Making Strides Photo via the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Facebook Page