By: Chris Brunner
Nearly 2,000 runners and walkers laced up their sneakers at the Coral Springs Sportsplex for the annual Half Marathon and 5K Race for Women’s Wellness.
Both races held on March 24, presented by the City of Coral Springs and Broward Health Coral Springs, raised a record-breaking amount of more than $47,000. With proceeds from the race benefiting the Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund, the overall mission of this event was to raise funds for women who cannot afford mammograms and breast care.
The Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund was founded in 2003 by former Coral Springs Mayor Vincent Boccard and his wife, Terry, in support of Vincent’s sister, Lisa, and her fight with breast cancer. The fund helps women obtain mammogram screenings and additional breast treatments who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford such care.
Today, Lisa is the driving force behind the fund, making it her life’s mission to screen as many women as possible. Since its inception, the fund has screened more than 2,100 women, of whom 100 tested positive for cancer. These women are alive today thanks in part to the early screening made possible by the Lisa Boccard Breast Cancer Fund.
“The event has not only seen the number of walkers and runners increase, but community support as well,” said Boccard. “This year we surpassed what we raised last year by more than $5,000. In addition, more people and local businesses want to be involved and runners are coming from all over the world.”
The event included a vendor village for spectators, activities for kids, an awards ceremony, and recognition given to all the cancer survivors present.
For Boccard, this race has a special meaning. She has been fighting the battle with cancer for 27 years. At age 29, the Coral Springs resident was first diagnosed with a life-threatening form of Stage III breast cancer. She fought back and was in remission for 11 years, but was later diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. In the last 15 years, the cancer has recurred three times, but she remains optimistic. Her brave fight has inspired many cancer patients, caregivers and survivors to join her in this race. For many of the runners, this race provides hope and unified support.
“It’s not just a race. It gives family members and friends an opportunity to participate in honor of a loved one or in memory of them,” said Boccard. “It’s a vehicle to celebrate survivorship. There are families who have walked in honor of their loved ones for years and this has created a meaningful tradition among their friends and family. The best part is that we are all saving lives together and raising money to help local women in our community.”
Chris has been a contributing writer at Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk since high school. He is a resident of Coral Springs and is currently attending college.