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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    CATwalk gets record haul

    ASUA senators cross the finish line of the 3.1-mile CATwalk course hand in hand on Saturday, followed closely by ASUA President Tommy Bruce.
    ASUA senators cross the finish line of the 3.1-mile CATwalk course hand in hand on Saturday, followed closely by ASUA President Tommy Bruce.

    More than 3,000 people came out to the UA Mall on Saturday afternoon to walk or run in support of women’s cancer research and prevention.

    The seventh annual CATwalk raised $132,750 in donations, surpassing the six-year combined total of $120,000. Organizers said they had hoped to raise at least $100,000.

    “”Since CATwalk started, we’ve raised over a quarter-million dollars for women’s cancer research,”” said Jami Reinsch, vice president of programming for Panhellenic Council.

    The UA’s greek community started CATwalk in 2000 to raise money for the UA Cancer Center. Since then, it has developed into both a campuswide and communitywide event.

    “”The greeks started this hoping it would grow this big, but we didn’t realize it would take off,”” said Reinsch, a journalism senior. “”This year is the biggest it’s ever been, with 80 percent of the greek community coming out.””

    A 10-kilometer race was added this year after the group Better Than Even teamed up with CATwalk organizers.

    Better Than Ever began seven years ago to raise money for women’s cancer research and for the Bobbi Olson half-marathon.

    Bobbi Olson, the first wife of men’s basketball head coach Lute, died of ovarian cancer on Jan. 1, 2001.

    “”The group decided to join CATwalk because both groups have the same purpose,”” said Heather Alberts, founder of Better Than Ever.

    “”We got involved because we want to honor Bobbi Olson and because exercise is absolutely critical to cancer prevention, and we want to raise money for the cancer center,”” she added.

    It made sense for the two groups to come together because they share a common goal – and because it’s nice to see older community members walk with the greek community, said Donna Breckenridge, director of communication and outreach for the UA Cancer Center.

    The Cancer Center is the No. 1 research unit at the UA but suffered a drop in federal research funds in 2006-2007.

    “”It has been very frustrating losing that federal funding, but large grants have been renewed,”” Breckenridge said.

    Many participants who walked did so to honor someone affected by cancer.

    Shria Rhinesmith, who won the 10k race, said she ran to honor her mother, who had breast cancer.

    Reinsch said cancer affects almost everyone in some way, and she would like to see the race expanded.

    “”It would be awesome if it was … statewide,”” she said.

    Participants received a T-shirt, food, drink and entry into a drawing for over $8,500 in prizes, including a pair of men’s basketball season tickets.

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