Firefighters will put on their gear and race toward the finish line at an annual 5k event to benefit their peers in the Central Savannah River Area who are battling cancer.
They will compete alongside members of law enforcement, the military and EMS at the Fire-K Five-K on Oct. 5 while raising money for firefighters and their families who are struggling with medical costs.
The event, which shares its name with its nonprofit organization, is also open to anyone who would like to participate and support the cause. It will take place at the Lady Antebellum Amphitheater at 7016 Evans Town Center Blvd. Last year, over 300 people signed up, said Phillip Weathers, president of Five-K Fire-K, which was founded in 2013.
“This is the chance to be a hero to the hero that supports our community every single day,” said Weathers, a firefighter in Grovetown. “Firefighters are the ones who are out there putting themselves between us and dangers like fires, accidents and other medical emergencies. Here’s a chance to step up and help them.”
The family-friendly event will also include a hot dog lunch, a live DJ and children’s activities throughout the day.
Weathers hopes to raise awareness for his organization, which also provides cancer screenings for firefighters as well as resources on how to minimize their risk of getting cancer. Firefighters are regularly exposed to homebuilding materials that give them a higher chance of getting cancers such as multiple myeloma or lung cancer than civilians, he said.
“Cancer is such an epidemic for firefighters; it has become the leading cause of death even bypassing heart disease,” Weathers said. “Firefighters don’t have a particularly large salary so they sometimes have to work two or three jobs and out-of-pocket expenses can be crippling for them.”
Weather said the fundraising goal for the year’s event is $15,000-$20,000. The money will be used for $1,000 scholarships that are given to firefighters who have been nominated to receive one.
“We want to give firefighters breathing room in their budget,” he said. “I know what it’s like to stand in line at the grocery store looking at your buggy to figure out what to put back. There are so many other firefighters who have to make that decision.”
Registration begins at 7 a.m., the 5K starts at 8 a.m. and the kid’s fun run kicks off at 9 a.m.
The fee is $30 for individuals who are not first responders, $25 for individual first responders, $85 for teams of four without firefighters and $75 for firefighter teams of four running in gear to compete for a trophy.
For more information, to register for a race or volunteer or donate, visit firekfivek.com.