Brain Cancer Awareness 5K

Event Date

Sat, Aug 23, 2014


McKeesport, PA

About This Activity

Thanks again to everyone who came out to our first annual Brain Cancer Awareness 5K! If you are interested in seeing your running times, check out our page on 


How is this 5K different?

Truthfully, the first annual Brain Cancer Awareness 5K is pretty much just like every 5K out there. If you choose to sponsor, run or walk, which we hope you do, here is what you get:

  • Beautiful scenery – Our course is nestled in the heart of White Oak Park.  
  • Fantastic volunteers – Some of us are related, some of us met by coincidence, and some of us just want to help. Whomever you meet-when you are checked in or receive a cup of water at one of our convenient rest stops-you will be well taken care of.
  • A really cool shirt – Just what every runner and walker secretly hopes for when they are lacing up their tennies, another awesome shirt! Designed by a friend and printed by yet another friend, all registered walkers and runners will receive the official Brain Cancer Awareness 5K t-shirt. And guess what? When you wear our shirt, you will help to spread awareness about brain cancer, for which we thank you.
  • A little bit of awareness about brain cancer – Yes, we are shamelessly going to sneak in some education. Before having a family member or friend diagnosed with brain cancer, none of us knew much about it. We don’t expect you to walk away a neurosurgeon, but we do want to make you aware of the signs and symptoms of brain cancer.

 To learn more, we encourage you to visit

 What you will not get:

  • You will not get dyed a rainbow of colors, chased by zombies, or be required to scale walls using your Herculean strength. There are some other pretty great 5Ks that already provide these services.  We should know, because many of us have participated in those events too.


Why should you sponsor, run or walk?

That is up to you. This is why we are doing this: 


Meet Dorothy Pollack. She is why we are doing this. Dorothy was a wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, Girl Scout leader, bus tour aficionado, friend, and collector of rare light houses. Just kidding. She loved light houses and so she did her best to buy them all. Just ask her husband, Joe. Seriously-go ahead and ask him. He will be the handsome, spry 80 something year old passing out water at one of the rest stops.

In late 2013, Dorothy began to have trouble getting around and was easily irritated. Then in mid-January 2014, she fell. Being a stroke survivor, her family assumed it was another stroke and rushed her to the ER, where an MRI revealed a large brain tumor. Following surgery, her tumor was diagnosed as a treatment resistant GBM or glioblastoma – a cancerous form of brain cancer.

On February 27, 2014, Dorothy lost her battle with brain cancer surrounded by her loving family.

Meet Barb Rajchel. Barb is why we are doing this. In 1985, Barb was an active 21 year old young woman, totally immersed in living life and making plans for the future, when she began to feel dizzy and unsteady on her feet at different times of the day.  She decided it was time to see her doctor who recommended further testing. Nothing could have prepared Barb and her family for the deviating diagnosis; she had a non-cancerous brain tumor. Following surgery and 30 treatments of radiation over a period of six weeks, Barb was back to “normal” life.  .

Fast forward 28 years later, which encompasses a ton of great memories, including marriage to a great man and four wonderful children, Barb began having severe headaches and a few memory lapses over a period of only a few months.  A CAT scan revealed another large tumor. This time the diagnosis was not so good.  Barb was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor called GBM or glioblastoma.

After two surgeries and several different types of radiation and chemotherapy, Barb and her family continue to live life, even though it is difficult and her prognosis is not good. Barb’s mantra: "Life" continues and we believe in miracles.


Our collective goal for this 5k

We also are doing this for others who may have this disease. We want to bring awareness to this type of cancer.  GBM is a deadly disease, and one very few people hear about.

Event Proceeds

Event proceeds will benefit brain cancer research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.


Event details and schedule

Race Day is Saturday! And thanks to a tremendous outpouring of support for our 5K, we have a few recommendations to help make race day even better. 
Registration begins at Redwood Pavilion(very end of park) at 7:30 a.m. We suggest arriving as early as possible to get the shirt size of your choice. For walk up registrations, we cannot guarantee a shirt. Although we know that many of our participants are looking forward to receiving a shirt, we did not order a lot of extra shirts, so that we could donate as much money as possible to support brain cancer research at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. We thank you for understanding and for your support!
Parking at the Redwood Pavilion is likely to be packed. Once the Redwood lot is full, we have overflow parking and volunteers who will shuttle participants from other parking lots in the park. Volunteers also will be on hand to guide parking. To further assist with parking, please consider carpooling with other participants. Handicap spots will be reserved at the Redwood pavilion for those who need it. 
Also-have fun! We could not put on the first annual Brain Cancer Awareness 5K without your support. See you Saturday!


  • 7:30 a.m.-Registration
  • 9 a.m.-Run start
  • 9:10 a.m.-Walk start

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