On a bright and sunny Mother’s Day, May 13th, Kathy and I traveled to Peabody, Massachusetts, to attend the second Patrick Downey 5k road race.

We arrived to find the town buzzing with activity. Runners of all ages and abilities had gathered to help honor Patrick who had succumbed to esophageal cancer in 2007. At the center of everything was the smiling face of his sister Shannon, the race organizer.

Before he passed, Shannon had promised her brother that she would help to raise awareness of esophageal cancer. As a runner herself, and a member of the Wicked running club, organizing a road race in Patrick’s name seemed to be a natural fit.

The first Patrick Downey 5k road race took place in 2011. Shannon signed up 136 runners and several local sponsors. This years event was even bigger. 217 runners registered to run the race and once more there were several local sponsors. However, a very big win for Shannon was when the Converse shoe company heard about the run and about Patrick. Patrick wore his Converse Chuck Taylor’s all the time and Shannon had suggested that some of the runners wear their own Chucks for the race. This caught the eye of the Converse company who generously donated $5000 to help sponsor the event. They also donated 100 pairs of Chucks for the race participants.

The first Patrick Downey 5k road race raised over $3000 for the ECAA. The second has resulted in an outstanding donation of $8000.

Kathy and I were honored to be there and take a small part in the proceedings. We handed out ECAA t-shirts, wristbands, car magnets, and, most importantly, cancer awareness cards to many of the participants and even some passers-by. Many thanks are due to everyone that took part; runners, volunteers, sponsors, and donors. Extra special thanks are due to Shannon, without whom the event would never have taken place. Esophageal cancer awareness got a big lift that day.

Photos and information are available at http://www.patrickdowney5k.com/About_Patrick_Downey_5K.html

Second Annual Patrick Downey Road Race