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Something Bigger: How running the Happy Half Marathon makes a difference in our community!

The Happy Half Marathon was founded in part to join in the fight against cancer. Initial donations were made to the American Cancer Society. Since then, we have formed a strong partnership with the Springfield Regional Cancer Center and we have continued to build our bond with them. Over the years, we have heard from numerous people who have been directly impacted by the donations the Happy Half has provided to the Cancer Center. These stories about facing their own battles with cancer, or helping a friend or loved one through it, is what inspires us to put everything that we can into this race.

We recently spoke to Pilar Gonzalez-Mock and Ann Hembree about how recent Happy Half donations have benefited the Springfield Regional Cancer Center. This gave us a wonderful insight at what our donation means for the Cancer Center, their patients, and their employees.

Thanks to your support, the Springfield Regional Cancer Center has been able to help fund new programs centered around providing the highest quality care for each patient. One of their goals is to put the money donated by the Happy Half toward programs that exemplify the spirit of happiness, comfort, fitness, and wellness. They want to ensure that our legacy is continued through implementing and strengthening programs that are well aligned with what we try to do.

One of the programs that our donation has helped grow is the massage program. This massage program helps patients with sleep, pain management, and stress as they undergo treatments. All of this helps patients immensely. Springfield Regional Cancer Center is known for their “above and beyond treatment.” The massage program is a perfect example of how they do just that for every person who walks through their doors. While this type of treatment can be found elsewhere, Springfield Regional Cancer Center is able to offer it for only $10 a session - compared to $80-$125 per session that you might find at a private practice, this is a much more manageable price point and can be done right here in Springfield! Our record $11,000 donation last year went towards a new table and funded massages that helped them keep the program in house.

In addition to keeping the massage program going, the Cancer Center continues to innovate and develop new programs. A perfect example of being their strength program. As patients are undergoing treatments, strength and endurance often decline. The Springfield Regional Cancer Center’s strength program helps combat that. “It is done to the level of each person’s capacity,” Pilar said. This individualized approach makes the sessions personable and beneficial for each person. Although these types of programs are research and evidence based and shown to lead to less hospitalization, insurance does not cover it.

The strength program at the Springfield Regional Cancer Center is one example of how the Happy Half Marathon

helps make a difference in our community!

Fortunately, our donation was able to help fund and support this program. Pilar told us about the program, “It’s one of those dreams we’ve had and never been able to do. The Happy Half Marathon has helped make that possible.”

As you are training for the Happy Half, you are doing something great for yourself. Running 13.1 miles is difficult whether it is your first time or your 1,000th time. You are committed to your personal health and well-being. There will be times when your training runs are difficult or you do not feel like going out. On race day, you might find yourself wanting to give up. It is in those times that it is important to remember stories like these. You are also running for your community and for a cause that is bigger than all of us.

Your investment in yourself and in the Happy Half Marathon has a direct, positive impact on others and that is something that you should be proud of. You make a difference.

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