8th annual Walk by Faith 5K seeking to end childhood cancer, support affected kids
HOUSTON (Oct. 6) — For the eighth year in a row, the Walk by Faith 5K Race/Walk will unite Houstonians in raising the necessary funding to end childhood cancer while also supporting families struggling to care for a child suffering from the disease.
The event is the main fundraiser for the Addi’s Faith Foundation, a Kingwood, Texas-based 501(c)(3) founded in 2007 by Tony and Amber Bender to honor their daughter Addison, who died of a cancerous brain tumor at the age of 2.
More than 2,000 participants are expected to participate in this year’s race, which will be held Sunday, Nov. 13, at Sam Houston Raceway Park. Registration is underway now at www.walkbyfaith5k.org. People unable to attend are encouraged to visit the website and make a donation.
“When we lost Addison we quickly discovered two things that immediately led us to creating this charity,” Amber Bender said. “First, only four percent of funding is directed to childhood cancer, and second that having a child with cancer is emotionally and financially draining for the family involved. It literally turns your world upside down.
“Through Addi’s Faith we’ve been able to help so many people over the last nine years and because of the generosity of our sponsors, friends and participants in our annual Walk by Faith 5K, we continue to make a difference in so many people’s lives. Tony, myself and our group of volunteers are convinced a cure can be found and we won’t stop until cancer is erased forever.”
Bender says participants in their annual run/walk range from competitive runners to entire families and church groups covering the course en masse. This year the event will start with a 1K Kids Obstacle Course for children ages 5-15 to give even the smallest participants a chance to get involved.
“We want everyone to join in the fun,” Tony Bender said. “All 5K participants are professionally chip-timed and receive custom finisher medals, a T-shirt, swag bag, and access to the post-race celebration.
“The 1K fun run is an obstacle course with inflatables, balance beams, a wall climb and many other things for the younger kids to navigate. The course is designed to be fun, not too challenging, and we’ll have volunteers helping at each obstacle. Those same kids are also welcome to participate in the 5K at no additional charge.”
Generous sponsors have pledged support of all refreshments, a Kid’s Zone, festive music, raffle and various awards handed out to the top finishers in several age groups.
“Last year we had 2,000 runners and raised $195,000,” Amber Bender said. “This year our goal is to have 2,500 runners and raise $250,000. To date, we’ve raised $850,000 through the Walk by Faith 5K Run/Walk. It’s so humbling.”
The cost is $30 for adults and $15 for kids (17 and under). Each participant who registers online will automatically have their own fundraising page and anyone who uses their personal page to raise $300 or more will have their registration fee refunded. Early registration ends Nov. 2, after which time the fees increase by $5. The final day to register online is Nov. 9. Race day registration will be available from 6:30-8 a.m. Please visit www.walkbyfaith5k.org.
The race day schedule begins with a 7 a.m. Worship Service, followed by the 1K Kids Obstacle Course at 7:45 a.m. The 5K Race/Walk will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the Awards Ceremony beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Major sponsors of this year’s Walk by Faith 5K include Shamrock Marine, Hines Furlong, The Shop/G&S, Jeffboat, Buffalo Marine, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Insperity, Falcon, Vital Allergy & Asthma, Alspaugh’s ACE Hardware, Coating, Systems & Supply, Southwest Shipyard and Christ The King Lutheran Church.