On Saturday, Sept. 7, the Heart and Sole 5K Run and Walk will be held at the Greene Cove Yacht Club. The event’s purpose is to raise money for children living in southwestern Pennsylvania who have been diagnosed with cancer. Putting on the event is an organization that has been raising funds for pediatric cancer patients for almost 10 years.
Colby’s Stars Foundation Inc., established in 2010, is an organization that provides financial assistance to families in the area with children battling different types of cancer. The organization was founded by family and friends of Colby Simkovic, a native of Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, who received the news of his diagnosis at 8 years old.
Carrie Simkovic, mother of Colby, volunteers and assists in leading the organization. She said the Heart and Sole 5K is just one way the foundation continues to help local families who have a child battling cancer.
“The community rallied around my family during our time of need, and after the fact, families and friends did fundraisers for us while we were seeking treatment for [Colby],” said Simkovic. “About a year after he was done with treatment, we formed Colby’s Stars Foundation and started having fundraisers to help kids and their families in our area that’re battling cancer or life-threatening diseases.”
This is the second year for the 5K, but Simkovic said it’s only a small part of the events the organization holds to raise money on a yearly basis.
“Every year, we do a Kicking Cancer’s Butt Kickball tournament in May,” said Simkovic. “We’ve done [the kickball tournament] for seven years, and we’ve had so many new kids diagnosed. We wanted to have something in between them. We had our first Heart and Sole, Fight for the Kids 5K last year, and this is our second one to generate more donations to help more families throughout the year.”
So far, this year’s 5K has about 100 people registered, but registration for the race will still be open on the day of the race, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. The activities will get underway starting at 9 a.m. with the run. However, Simkovic said the event has something for everyone.
“There will be a Chinese auction we have about nine or ten nice baskets for, and of course all the money from that will go to the foundation,” said Simkovic.
September is National Childhood Cancer month, and gold is the official color. Simkovic mentioned the 5K shirts will be gold, with black and blue included to represent the pediatric cancer.
Colby, now a student at Jefferson-Morgan High School, survived the rare brain tumor he had after spending an extended amount of time at St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Tennessee fighting the disease.
The fundraising efforts are ongoing, according to Carrie, who realizes the need is there, but said it’s not what they would’ve wished for at the onset of the foundation.
“We wish the foundation would’ve absolved at one time, but it keeps growing, and we keep getting calls from families needing help, which is sad,” said Simkovic.
Colby’s Stars Foundation’s website can be located at www.colbysstarsfoundation.org and the Facebook page at, “Colby’s Stars Foundation.”