Inspired by two ovarian cancer patients and their desire to fund an ovarian cancer research program at MD Anderson, Judith K. Wolf, M.D., a professor of gynecologic oncology, came up with an idea and ran with it.
Wolf founded the Sprint for Life 5K Run/Walk and Sprint for Sprouts Kids’ Run in 1998 with support from her patient, Laura Lee Scurlock Blanton, and from the family of Sandra G. Davis.
Over the past 12 years Sprint for Life has surpassed Wolf’s expectations, raising more than $2 million toward innovative ovarian cancer research for the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at MD Anderson. Approximately 2,500 people registered for this year’s record-breaking event in May, which grossed $385,000 — including more than $129,000 from online pledges.
Marcy E. Kurtz and Marcy L. Rothman served as this year’s event chairs, with honorary co-chairs Kelli Blanton and Eddy Scurlock Blanton Sr.
Activities included a parade for children 12 years and younger leading them to the start line for the Sprint for Sprouts events. A reception area and breakfast welcomed ovarian cancer survivors attending the event, and a post-race party featured an awards ceremony, food, music, face painting and kids’ games. A host of volunteers from MD Anderson and throughout the community contributed to the successful event.
“This race is about celebrating the survivors, raising awareness and supporting research to find better therapies and ultimately a cure,” says Wolf, a seasoned runner who participates in each Sprint for Life as a tribute to Blanton, who died in 1999, and to honor the 22,000 women diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the United States each year.
Wolf is co-director of the Blanton-Davis Ovarian Cancer Research Program at
MD Anderson, which was created in 1996 as a critical step toward the goal of eradicating ovarian cancer. It was the nation’s first formal, comprehensive ovarian cancer research effort aimed at translating basic discoveries into improved therapies and management of the disease.