Thousands turn out for Annual Gary Papa Run

June 17, 2012 3:36:00 PM PDT
Thousands of people took part in the annual Gary Papa 5k Run/Walk to help raise money and bring an end to prostate cancer.

The race kicked off at 8:30 Sunday morning in the Eakins Oval section of Philadelphia.

All the participants, including some familiar faces from Action News, ran with a purpose - to bring awareness to a devastating disease.

The event also honors our friend and former colleague Gary Papa who lost his battle with prostate cancer in 2009.

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"I loved Gary Papa, I hate cancer. It's a great way for me and my son to bond a little bit," said Fran Dunphy, basketball coach for Temple University.

In the last few years of his life, Gary made it his mission to fight for prevention and early detection of prostate cancer.

Some participated as part of a Father's Day tradition while others had more personal reasons.

"My father had prostate cancer he's lucky to beat it," said John Hackworth of the Philadelphia Union.

Even for those who don't have a family member stricken with the disease, Sunday's event still had a significant impact.

"I see what they go through every day, the treatments and what families do, so we wanted to come out and support them," said Kelly Scott, a nurse.

Along with supporters, family and friends - there were many cancer survivors in attendance.

Robert Smith was one of many who proudly wore blue tags as survivors, to send a message.

"I think it's important to let people see that you can survive and you can continue. Personally it's my goal every year to make sure I'm at this race," said Smith.

With nearly $250,000 raised so far, organizers hope to one day bring an end to prostate cancer.