Gary Papa Run: Thousands run to fight cancer

Trish Hartman Image
Monday, June 19, 2017
Gary Papa Run: Thousands run to fight cancer
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Gary Papa Run: Thousands run to fight cancer. Trish Hartman reports during Action News at 6 p.m. on June 18, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It has become a Father's Day tradition for so many families.

The Gary Papa Run raises awareness about an important men's health issue on this holiday that celebrates the men who are important in our lives.

The 10k race kicked off at the Philadelphia Museum of Art at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Others took part in the 5k run, 5k walk, and 1 mile walk.

The run raises money for the Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health in memory of our own Action News sports director Gary Papa who lost his battle with prostate cancer in June of 2009.

The foundation works to advance prostate cancer treatment, education and awareness.

Many people form fundraising teams in support of or in memory of their own loved ones.

Action News sports reporter and race chair Jamie Apody shared what it meant to be at the race this year, while she's on maternity leave after the birth of her third son.

"I wouldn't miss it for the world, even with the three kids, under five. It's so special every year to come out here and honor Gary's memory. He, of course wanted to be able to sleep in on Father's Day and we still can't do that because there still is no cure. But his mission was that no other family would have to go through what his family did and watching him succumb to this horrible disease," Apody said.

Among the sea of runners and walkers participating in the 15th annual Gary Papa Run was Steve Lewis of Lansdale, a 6-year-old prostate cancer survivor.

"Our hearts go out to the Papa family because of what he went through, but I think he's also having an impact on other people preventing it," Lewis said.

Action News sports director Gary Papa lost his six year battle with prostate cancer in June of 2009, just before Father's day. Ever since, the Papa family has spent this day raising awareness about early detection, and raising funds for the foundation for breast and prostate health.

"My mission is to save the next generation of young men this worry. This angst. That if they just incorporate this into their lives they can realize that there's nothing to be shy about. You have to go out and get checked. It's so simple. It's such a simple blood test," Gary Papa's wife Kathleen said.

As Gary's two sons, Nathaniel and Tucker, have gotten older, they have become more involved in the cause about which their father was so passionate.

Nathaniel Papa said, "It just feels very rewarding to come out here to see more people come out and run, register and donations always going up, so it just feels overall fantastic."

"Early detection saves lives. Had Gary gone to the doctor and checked out his symptoms earlier he'd still be here. Scary thought. Gives me goosebumps to think about. So please. Dads, grandfathers, moms and wives, those of you who love the men in your life. Have everyone get checked," Jamie Apody said.

The event has raised more than $250,000 this year, but you can still donate through


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