FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. (October 8, 2023) – She may have headed up the back of the pack as ‘the turtle’, but the enthusiasm level of Carol Herman was as high as those who sprinted from the starting line on Sunday morning for the annual Pink On Parade 5K doing a seven-minute-mile.
Cruising along at about four miles per hour, she was thrilled to just be a part of the event as she rode on her pink scooter recently purchased from Chris Townsend at Be Active Mobility in Palm Coast.
He waited patiently for her to cross the finish line. Fully invested, Townsend drove Herman to the event to ensure she could participate.
“We’re watching for Carol on her pink scooter,” said Townsend happily, keeping one eye on the finish line as the hour mark passed. “This is life changing. It’s a pride mobility scooter, and we take pride in supporting our community.”
Herman shared her sense of pride in helping others through the event, as well.
“I bought a scooter from Chris, a very good friend. He provided the pink and everything. I’m very blessed that I don’t know anybody that is a breast cancer survivor, but I am so honored to participate in such a wonderful cause,” she said, visiting with the exhibitors after the race.
The event, which drew more than 800 participants, brought people from all walks of life out early Sunday morning.
Some, like 79-year-old Chief Ten Bears Bryant was completing his 2,760 athletic event. Diagnosed with Parkinsons, the Tavares resident credits physical activity with keeping his body moving.
“I want to be here as long as I can,” he shared after completing the race.
“When we first came here, they had given my wife five months to live. She was in a cancer center. I got a pink shirt for her. She getting ready to have her last therapy,” said Bryant, fueling up after the walk, with nutrition supplied by CREATION Health.
Waiting for his wife to finish the race, City of Palm Coast Parks and Recreation Director James Hirst said his team ran the 5K in honor of his mother. A 10-year survivor, the disease reemerged this year, and Hirst has a special affinity for the event that brings together those who have lost loved ones and survivors.
“I’m here for my mom. She is awesome. She supported me and my brother and sister since we’ve been young, taking us to sporting games, taking us everywhere, so this is for her,” he said with emotion.
He hopes her story, coupled with regular screenings provided by the funds raised through the Pink On Parade 5K, will help save lives.
“I think what we’ve learned is it can come back at any time. Last time she had it was nearly 10 years ago. Getting screened is necessary,” said Hirst. “This is such an awesome event, I love it.”
Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin and daughter Melanie DeMartino passed out medals to the participants in the timed race, a job they relish each year, while Alina Perry-Smith, a breast cancer survivor herself, passed out special signature medals to the fellow survivors.
“It’s a lot of energy, passion, in support of awareness for breast cancer. There are well over a thousand people out here today,” said John Subers, Director of the AdventHealth Palm Coast Foundation. “What the hospital does for the community is wonderful.”
The event, a partnership between the City of Palm Coast and AdventHealth Palm Coast Foundation, returned in person in 2022. It is supported by countless businesses and organizations in Flagler County each year.
Past Pink Army 5K Chair Helga Van Eckert ran on Sunday morning and was excited to see the event continuing to grow.
“It’s so exciting to be here today because we’ve got, this must have tripled in size, from the days when we started. I understand the dog walk has taken off as well. It’s such a great thing for this community and it’s going to bring so much back to the residents,” she said.
An estimated $20,000 was raised by the event and addition fundraisers take place throughout the month to provide mammograms and other diagnostic services to women and men in need across Flagler County, in their battle against breast cancer.
To make a donation, please visit https://www.adventhealth.com/foundation/adventhealth-foundation-central-florida/palm-coast-foundation.