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Head for the Cure 5k goes virtual to support cancer patients, families

Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 6:47 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The global pandemic has forced many events to be canceled, but not the Head for the Cure 5k -- because this year they’re going virtual.

Organizers tell 6 News they weren’t going to let anything get in the way of this event.

“At the end of the day, no matter what happens with the pandemic, people are still affected with brain cancer and brain tumors,” said Head for the Cure 5k Executive Director Jenna Heilman.

For seven years, the organization has hosted a 5k event in Omaha.

Teams sign up to run and support those affected by brain cancer.

“We have two local beneficiaries. We have Leap for a Cure, it really supports people during their treatments and then we have the Fred and Pamela Buffett Cancer Center,” Heilman said.

That’s in addition to their national partnership with Brain Tumor Trials Collaborative.

Obviously with the ongoing pandemic, the race this year had to be reconfigured.

“As a foundation, it was never an option to not do it,” Heilman said.

That’s when the decision was made to go virtual.

“Encouraging people to do simple things like when you’re mowing the yard, take a picture and send it to us. Anything that burns calories, it doesn’t have to be that traditional 5k. It can be anything in your own backyard,” she said.

Bryan Phillips has been participating for five years now, this year as part of Team Michael Phillips.

“One of the things Head for the Cure does and the 5k and the fundraising does, it makes you feel more like a fighter than a victim,” Bryan said.

On Saturday, he was fighting for his son, Michael, who lost his battle with brain cancer in 2015.

Michael, a marine, was only 30 years old.

“It’s a very deadly disease. It was glioblastoma, multiforme grade IV. He died on June 16, 2015,” Bryan said.

While this year may look different, for the people and their families affected by this deadly disease -- nothing will get in their way of finding a cure.

“People may not be able to participate in the same capacity as in the past, they’re still watching and they’re still supporting and we’ll know they’ll be back next year,” Heilman said.

You can still participate in the Head for the Cure event. Registration is open until midnight Sunday and you can always make donations online.

Copyright 2020 WOWT. All rights reserved.

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