Sperfslage organizes local 5K for breast cancer awareness

Roughly 50 women took part in this year’s virtual Especially For You Race on Oct. 11 in Monticello. The event was organized by Lisa Sperfslage. Keeping it local allowed for more to take part and help raise awareness of breast cancer. (Photos by Kim Brooks)

Eight area breast cancer survivors were honored this year. Holding pink pumpkins that spell “Hope” are Kris Kremer, Janet Cook, Pam Kray, Michelle Jurgens, Cindy Plummer, Traysa Orcutt, Steph Gogel, and Dawn Long.

The EFY Race route through Monticello was mapped out by Tina McDonough. The route made use of the new Willow Trail through the Baty Disc Golf Course.
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The 30th annual Especially for You (EFY) Race Against Breast Cancer took place virtually this year on Sunday, Oct. 11, due to COVID-19.

     Typically participants gather in Cedar Rapids for the event, which draws tens of thousands all for the common cause of helping in the fight against breast cancer and honoring survivors.

     This year, more than 10,200 people took part in their own ways, including roughly 50 women who walked a 5K route through Monticello.

     Proceeds support the Especially for You fund, with more than $296,000 raised this year to help with financial assistance for breast cancer and gynecological cancer screenings and services.

     Lisa Sperfslage organized the local EFY walk, with assistance from Tina McDonough who mapped out the 5K route for participants.

     “The reason that I do the EFY walk is that it is an easy way to raise money for a cause that has affected so many of my family and friends,” said Sperfslage. “In addition to being a wonderful cause, it is also a social event and a great way to get a little exercise.”

     This is Sperfslage’s eighth year taking part in the EFY walk.

     Aside from the 50-plus participants, there were eight cancer survivors who were honored before the walk began at 9 a.m.:

     • Janet Cook, 20-year survivor from her first diagnosis and 15 years from her second diagnosis

     • Pam Kray, 21-year survivor

     • Kris Kremer, 11-year survivor

     • Cindy Plummer, 11-year survivor

     • Traysa Orcutt, 11-year survivor

     • Stephanie Gogel, four-year survivor

     • Dawn Long, one-year survivor

     • Michelle Jurgens, diagnosed this past winter

     “When I was younger, I watched my grandmother battle breast cancer,” noted Sperfslage. “So it has always been a disease I have had an awareness of. Since then, I have had several other friends and family members stricken with the disease, which prompted me to try and do my part to help our and raise awareness.”

     Sperfslage and her group previously decided to take part in the EFY walk this year in Monticello because of the virus, even before event organizers chose to go virtual.

     “We felt that staying in town was a much safer way to proceed while still being able to raise money,” she said.

     Because of Sperfslage’s own health issues she’s recovering from, McDonough walked and mapped out a route through Monticello that allowed everyone to complete a 5K. Participants gathered and started at the new Monticello Middle School at 9 a.m. They took full advantage of the extended Willow Trail and made their way to the Baty Disc Golf Course from Oak Street to the E. First Street Bridge. The next stretch took everyone through Riverside Gardens, with the turning point near the new pickleball courts. The group returned back to the middle school from there, using the same route.

     McDonough said she wanted a route that offered nice scenery, wide sidewalks, light traffic, and midway restroom break. She said Parks and Rec offered to open the public restrooms for use, too.

     “We really wanted to utilize the new trail for those on our walk who have not had the opportunity to use the trail,” noted McDonough.

     The number of participants this year was a record for Sperfslage. Everyone who took part has been affected by some form of cancer, not necessarily just breast cancer.

     “The reality of it is that more people are willing to walk when they don’t have to drive two hours to do so,” she said. “And because of this, we are able to raise that much more money and awareness, which is really what it is all about.

     “We felt it was important to continue our tradition and not take a year off,” continued Sperfslage of creating their own EFY route this year. “Breast cancer does not take time off, so we did not want to take time off either.”

     Following the end of their local 5K, Sperfslage uploaded the results on the EFY website to count toward the overall total of miles and participants.


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