Pink Panther 5K supports breast cancer group Pink Panther results listed
ORWELL TOWNSHIP - Kaleena Dughi stands by the Northeast track fence. She wears a pink T-shirt, pink scarf, dark pants with pink stripes.
Her friend Janean Eastman comes over. They hug.
Kaleena has done something great. She's finished the annual Pink Panther 5K on Saturday at Northeast Bradford High School. A new runner, she'd hoped to finish the 3.1-mile race in 30 minutes or less. Her time is 28:43.
"I was very happy!" she says.
And besides that, there's another reason her run was great. Because Kaleena, and many others like her, is what today is all about. â¦
On March 28, 2013, Kaleena was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was only 30.
She and her husband, Joe, had two children - Caleb, now 7, and Kara, 4Â½.
So the Rome-area woman started chemotherapy. The weeks, then the months, rolled by. She went through the treatments, the hair loss. She got help from Traci's Hope, the Apalachin, N.Y., breast-cancer support group that benefits from the Pink Panther every year.
When Kaleena saw the 5K advertised, she knew what she wanted to do. "I think I was the first one signed up," she said. Her race number today? It's "1."
"This is just a way that I can give back," she remarks.
She finished chemo late last summer, but has three more infusion therapies to go. "I'm excited to get it done," she says.
She began running about Thanksgiving time to stay in shape and did a couple of 5Ks this winter. Now, she runs three or four times a week.
A lot's happened in the past year. "Never, ever pictured myself doing a 5K!" Kaleena declares.
And being diagnosed with cancer was hard. But good came from it.
"I've grown closer to my husband and my family," Kaleena states. She chokes up. And "just my faith."
Today, Janean wears a black T-shirt, from a Komen Race for the Cure. Words on the front read: "Walking for Kaleena." Kaleena's own shirt, also from that race, has one big word in the middle: "Survivor."
"She's been my best friend," Kaleena says of the Orwell resident. She's "been there when I thought no one could be."
In the end, it was a great day for everyone else, too. Kent Upham and Lori Kingsley took the top male and female spots, and Adam Russell was named the top alumni finisher. Age-group winners won gray knit "Pink Panther" caps and cookies. (Pink is the color representing breast cancer; the panther is the Northeast mascot.)
Before the race, V's of geese flew over the school, a sign of spring. The sun finally pushed some beams through the clouds, like arms guiding the 117 runners and walkers around the course. You had music â¦ prizes â¦ sleek black shirts for all â¦ cute signs â¦ and applause, applause, applause.
"It's always nice to support breast-cancer awareness," Kent says after the awards program. A junior at SUNY-Geneseo, Kent's a biology major doing research on breast cancer.
He's also a graduate of Northeast, where he was a standout cross country runner. He runs for Geneseo, too, but has been battling injuries lately and reports this was his first race in a year. Still, he's won first with a time of 16:51. Lori's won her prize, and took sixth overall, in 19:39.
Kent's also pleased to win while his girlfriend, Nikki Deiseroth, is visiting.
"Today was lots of fun," he adds.
Runners and walkers have followed a course around the elementary and high school grounds, some of it paved, some on grass â¦ and yes, some muddy or even a little snowy.
Along the way, they've found pink signs bearing messages of deep philosophical significance. Like: "Unless you puke, faint or die, keep going." Or "Complaining doesn't burn calories."
NHS adviser Sandy Morris reports a lower turnout than last year, when the race drew 180, possibly due to another 5K in the area. She notes there were a "lot of walkers this year."
During the awards program in the high school cafeteria, the adviser thanks the NHS, which provided about 15 volunteers; Northeast staff members Amey Johnson and Mike Murphy; and Dakota Bellinger, who played recorded music. She praises the participants and sponsors for helping support the breast cancer charity.
Traci's Hope, based in Apalachin, N.Y., is named for Traci Gibson, a breast- cancer patient who passed away in 2006. The group helps breast-cancer patients with non-medical expenses, such as gas, day care or mortgages. "While fighting this disease, the needs could be endless, and nobody should have to do it alone," Traci herself wrote in an informational piece for the organization.
Traci's parents, Gordon and Mary Shiner, and a friend, Jeannie, are at the 5K representing the organization. Traci's Hope serves patients in Broome, Tioga, Susquehanna and Bradford counties, Gordon reports during the program.
"We need your support. We appreciate your support," he adds. "We love coming here." He's glad to see so many young people involved at Northeast. "And I know Traci would be very proud."
Last year, he reports, Traci's Hope helped 60 people and distributed $65,000.
Kaleena has met the Shiners. "They're amazing people," she says. "She (Traci) left an amazing legacy."
In the end, many runners and walkers went home with prizes. Traci's Hope took in money, so it can help others. The sun's rays shone. It was a great day.
And Kaleena â¦ she's been talking with her doctor. "I've gotten a good report so far," she says. She's "very blessed."
Kaleena, the woman in the pink "Survivor" shirt, is beating cancer.
She's had the greatest day of all.
Winners in the 2014 Northeast Bradford Pink Panther 5K were:
Overall male: Kent Upham; female: Lori Kingsley
Alumni male: Adam Russell
Under 10: Male, James Eastman; female: Laurynn Jones, first, and Anna Eastman, second
11-14: Male: Nate Mosier, Nicholas Marino, William Ostranger; female: Karli Moyer, Ella Brown, Megan Allabaugh
15-19: Male: Levi Upham, Kegan Beard, Sam Beers; female: Laura Ellis, Rachel Cooper, Anna Wheaton
20-29: Male: Alden Curtis Park, Dan Swartley; female: Amy Armstrong, Brittany Coon, Katelyn Morariu
30-39: Male: Jon Murray, Brian Kunkle, Kirby Ellis; female: Lynann Lorenz, Rachel Murphy, Kimberly Johnston
40-49: Male: John Johnson, John Voda, Quinn Honrahan; female: Kelly Stewart, Kimberly Poletto, Tina Woodward
50-59: Male: Mike Meagher, Kevin Rubert; female: Wilma Horton, Janet Greenfield, Jennifer Wildenstein
60-69: Janice Young, Janice Otis, Pat Hicks
70-79: Shirley Phillips
Alumni female: Nancy Sharer