Fifth annual Kern Cancer Run and Walk Festival

Luis Rojas, Reporter

Bakersfield held the Kern Cancer Run and Walk Festival for the fifth year this past Saturday October 12, at Yokuts Park.

The purpose of the Run and Walk is to bring funding and awareness to the various cancer diagnosis and to encourage the entire community to support local patients. 

Last year the Kern Run and Walk Festival had over 800 participants and this year had more than 1000 participants making it one of their best years and finally reaching their $50,000 goal. 

This event is a race for all ages to participate and compete in the 5K mile run. 

Some cancer survivors participated with their friends and relatives like Linda Jimenez, who ran the race with her husband and niece. Jimenez decided to participate because she lost her sister last July due to cancer and that motivated her to join the event. “I’m really glad I did, […] this is in memory of my sister and me as a survivor,” Jimenez said. Jimenez was diagnosed cancer free three years ago and said that she will participate next year as well.

Some participants raced in big groups to motivate and push their friends to the finish line. “This is my first time and I have to say that I wasn’t ready for a five-mile run but I wanted to try it for my friend who is a cancer survivor,” Concepcion Morales said. Morales participated with his friends and wife.Other participants used this race to stay active and exercise more like Patty McDowell who ran with a friend and wanted to improve her time running the five miles. 

Michelle Avila, Executive Director of the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center (CBCC) Foundation for Community Wellness mentioned that this event was to celebrate life, support local cancer survivors, and remember those who lost their battle to cancer. Avila also encourages people to join and participate in this event that helps survivors and local patients. 

The event also had over 30 vendors, children’s paintings booths, live music, and other activities like the mascot marathon to entertain the participants. The nursing program from Bakersfield College was present volunteering and handing out water and fruit to keep participants hydrated. 

Overall this event was better than expected and next year the organizers are looking forward to improve this cause that has the goal to help and remember those who were with us but unfortunately not anymore.