Pap Corps Walkathon Draws Largest Crowd Ever for Cancer Research Fundraiser
The Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research drew a record number of people to its 9th Annual Walkathon & Health Affair on Saturday, March 28th. At least 3,000 participants poured onto the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton for the Pap Corps’ signature event.
The Walkathon has traditionally raised more than $200,000, with all money going to fund vital cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, part of UHealth —- the University of Miami Health System. Last year, 2,500 walkers raised close to $280,000, which has organizers hopeful that a new record will be set, once all the money is collected.
W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., director of Sylvester, welcomed the energetic crowd at 9:00 a.m., by thanking the Pap Corps, now 20,000 members strong, for its constant dedication to funding a cure. “We cannot do what we do at Sylvester, each and every day, without your generous support.”
Walkers then embarked on a brisk 5K (3.1 miles) through FAU’s picturesque east campus. It was the first year the event has been held at FAU, home of the Miller School’s Regional Campus at Boca Raton, following years at Sylvester’s Deerfield Beach location at Newport Center. The more central and spacious location allowed more Pap Corps members, families and friends to take part in the walk, and the health fair screenings.
Lite FM’s (101.5) Ellen Jaffee, a Pap Corps member herself, was emcee for the day. Once the walk was finished, participants took part in the Health Fair, offered by Sylvester, with support from Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, UHealth Imaging, UHealth Physicians of Boca Raton, and other physicians and staff from UHealth. There was medical staff on hand providing blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, oxygen saturation, glaucoma, and skin cancer screenings. Rita Seiff, chair of the Walkathon, said the campus “was a wonderful arena so that we could expand our numbers and allow more people to see what Sylvester doctors offer.”
The Pap Corps (named after Dr. George Papanicolaou, whose impressive legacy includes the introduction of the Pap smear), is the largest all-volunteer fund-raising organization in the state of Florida committed to finding a cure for cancer through research and education. Since its inception, the Pap Corps has donated approximately $35 million to Sylvester, which is used strictly for research, says Tutsie Lipkin, president of the Pap Corps. “Since there are no professional fundraisers in the Pap Corps, 99% of every dollar raised funds research to find a cure for every type of cancer,” she says. “We all believe that research is the only possible way to cure this devastating disease. It is only through hard work, dedication, and the generosity of contributors that we have any hope of finding a cancer cure.”
In May 2008, the grassroots organization made its largest gift ever to the cancer center, presenting a $4.15 million check. Dr. Goodwin accepted the gift at their annual donor luncheon. That donation not only set a record, but surpassed the Pap Corps’ 2007 gift by $1 million!