Running for awareness and for Gary

June 22, 2009 4:12:37 AM PDT
They were pumped and ready to go at the starting line. RELATED: Photos from Run 4 Your Life

They were running and walking with a special sense of purpose this Father's Day.

It was a fitting tribute to Gary Papa who lost his battle with cancer Friday.

For the past 5 years he co-chaired the run and worked tirelessly to get the word out, urging men to get tested for prostate cancer.

Hundreds of people registered at the last minute, pushing participation to a record level and contributions have been pouring in from others who couldn't be here.

"I want you to know all night long on our website people have been contributing in his name," Shelly Schwartz of Run 4 Your Life told the crowd.

There were hugs and tears for Gary's wife Kathy and their two sons Nathan and Tucker.

Gary's parents Frank and Theresa Papa also came to show their support and gratitude.

They were surrounded by love.

Kathy wants the entire Delaware Valley to know that she's grateful for the overwhelming outpouring of support and condolences.

Gary's brother Greg spoke for the family.

"Being here has been a cathartic experience for myself and my entire family, I want to thank Philadelphia in being successful to easing our pain. From the Papa family, thank you for all you've done for us this weekend," Greg Papa said.

Many members of the Action News team, along with their friends and families, joined in on the race to form Team Papa. You can view pictures of the race by clicking here.

As a special honor for Gary, Run 4 Your Life now has a new name.

"We're going to formally name this the Gary Papa Run 4 Your Life Prostate Cancer Run," co-chairman John Dougherty said.

Gary Papa was remembered warmly at this event, but knowing Gary, he would want us to remind you that this isn't all about just him. It's about getting the word out about prostate cancer and the importance of early detection.

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