Avera’s race against cancer: an opportunity to care


This Saturday, people across the Sioux Falls area will have the opportunity to come together and run for a cause worth fighting for.

Caleb Miller, Staff Writer

You could drive the 750 mile long I-29, travel 383 miles across South Dakota or even workout along the 19 mile bike trails, but who knew that running 6.2 miles could make the impact of a lifetime?

On Saturday May 11, 2019, people of all ages will have the opportunity to come together to make a difference. They will come from different backgrounds, schools, workplaces and families, but the main cause still remains: putting cancer in the dark for good.

2019 will be the 31st time that Avera has held its annual fundraiser Race Against Cancer. Racers can choose to compete in a 10K run, a 5K run, a 3 mile walk or a 1.5 mile family fun walk. Those registering will get a chance to donate as part of their entry cost. All donations go to local profit and will help in certain areas such as screening, treatment, research and patient resources. Those who do not wish to run in the race can still donate online or even sign up to volunteer.

As far as LHS goes, unfortunately, we will not see many runners being able to participate. The administration requires that all track involved students may not compete in outside athletic activities. That said, the race will definitely not go unnoticed.

Lynn Thomason is the Latin teacher at LHS and has a long history with the race. The cause itself is something that she is close to. She dedicates herself to making a positive difference and to helping the community in any way she can.

“I would hope that the race would have just the ultimate positive impact,” said Thomason. “That we can all come together for a time to celebrate life, for a time to celebrate those who survived and for a time to honor those who didn’t make it.”

Thomason has witnessed the disease end in two very different ways over the course of her life. As some LHS students and faculty are aware, the previous Latin teacher Sharon Healy was a victim of breast cancer and passed away in September 2006. One of the pictures in Thomason’s room is from her first year of teaching that shows Thomason with Healy’s students at the race.

“I try to do it to honor her,” said Thomason. “I owe so much to her.”

Thankfully even in those tough times, she is still grateful for opportunities to see recovery. Thomason has witnessed both her mother and aunt overcome the battle and become survivors.

This year Thomason is particularly excited for a new participant from within her family to enter.

“Our son is running in the race,” said Thomason. “It’s his first time and that will probably be my favorite thing.”

Moments like these, tragic or triumphant, are reasons for why races like the one held on Saturday are so important. Not only is it an opportunity that will bring the best of times, but it is an opportunity to remember the worst times and overcome them altogether. The only way to defeat the darkness is to shine light upon it, and, in this circumstance, everyone can be thankful that the Sioux Falls community is able to help one another do exactly that.

“Unfortunately, this disease is so pervasive, and it can be so devastating to a family,” said Thomason. “Treatments can sometimes be so difficult and journeys can be long. So it’s a time where we can support each other, and help each other, and walk with each other, and lift each other up, and be happy with each other, and breathe with each other and just show people how special they are and how much we care.”


Correction: 10/15/19 Changed 10 miles to 6.2 miles