By TONIA HILL
The fourth annual Hyde Park Breast Cancer 5K returns Saturday, Sept. 23, on what could be according to weather forecasts an 80-plus degree day.
The Hyde Park Breast Cancer 5K Run/ Walk was created to increase awareness about breast cancer early detection, raise money for breast cancer research, and family risk factors, said Ontisar Freelain, executive director of the Hyde Park Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk.
The 5K is presented by the Cancer Research and Natural Family Planning Awareness (NFP) a 501c3 organization co-founded by Freelain and her husband.
Freelain, is a graduate of Kenwood Academy High School, 5015 S. Blackstone Ave., she is also a breast cancer survivor.
“When it happened to us it was devastating,” Freelain said. “It taught us so much about what women and families experience when diagnosed with breast cancer.”
She said they obligated to give back and to help work to find a cure and to help raise money for a treatment.
Though Freelain is not from Hyde Park originally, she was inspired to host the race in the neighborhood because of her ties to Hyde Park as a middle and high school student at Kenwood. Her husband also grew up in Hyde Park.
She said University of Chicago (U. of C.) Medicine’s, 5801 S. Maryland Ave., groundbreaking cancer research was another reason she wanted the race to take place in Hyde Park.
When she was diagnosed years ago she said she found out about a cancer risk clinic at U. of C. Medicine.
“We knew this was the type of research we want to support and then we zeroed in on Hyde Park that is in the heart of the south side of Chicago,” she said. “We want to get people excited about what’s going on there.”
The organization has donated roughly $13,000 to breast cancer research at the U. of C. Medicine.
Registration for the race will begin at 7 a.m. on Saturday, and the race will start at 8 a.m. at 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd., where the route for the race will begin.
The route goes as far as 43rd Street and the Lakefront and then back to 52nd Street and Hyde Park Boulevard.
About 150 people participate in the race annually, and the numbers are growing, Freelain said.
“We’re very encouraged for 2017, and we’ve been working to get the word out,” Freelain said.
The most rewarding part of the 5K according to Freelain is the “relationships that we’ve formed and built.”
She said some people who attend the race are battling breast cancer or another form of cancer.
“There are so many people suffering and dealing with trials related to health, cancer and breast cancer,” Freelain said. “It matters that we continue our efforts to change the landscape. We know it’s not someone out there that makes change it’s us as individuals. It comes from us.”
Proceeds from the race will benefit Cancer Research and Awareness NFP.