On Saturday, the United Fund of Surry held its eighth annual “Downtown Rocks and Runs” fundraiser. The event raised nearly $20,000 for local charities, but for 16 Northern Hospital employees, the event hit a little closer to home.
According to United Fund Director Christina Plitt, Northern Hospital of Surry, with its 16 runners, won the participation award at this year’s 5k run. Plitt said the Northern Hospital team was running in recognition of Northern Hospital employee Deborah Inman.
The team, named “Team Deborah,” started as an employee running group which met before and after work at the hospital. Inman was a part of the running group when it first formed in early June. However, on June 25 Inman got the unpleasant news that she had been diagnosed with colon cancer.
Inman, who had planned to run in the 5k, couldn’t do so. However, she was in attendance. As each of Inman’s coworkers crossed the finish line, Inman was there to greet them, putting a medal around the neck of each member of “Team Deborah.”
“I’m blessed with a bunch of wonderful people I work with,” said Inman. “I’m proud to call them family.”
On Saturday, Plitt said she had yet to calculate how much money this year’s 5k running event had raised for United Fund. However, Plitt said the field of runners was the largest ever for the race. “Last year was our biggest year, with about 200 runners,” said Plitt. “This year we had 200 pre-registered and about 30 registered the day of the race.”
Plitt said due to the increased participation, this year’s fundraising efforts should surpass last year’s dollar amount of about $14,000.
Doug Brunner, 69, said he’s run in the “Rocks and Run” fundraising event for the last five years. Brunner, who is from Claudville, Virginia, said he learned of the race through his work at Reeves Community Center. Brunner teaches a Weight Watchers course once a week at the center.
Brunner said he believes the steady increase in race participation is because the race was switched from a night race to a morning race in recent years.
“Most runners prefer to get it over and done with in the morning. Then they can go about the rest of their day,” said Brunner.
Plitt said Saturday’s run is meant to kick off the United Fund’s annual fundraising attempts. According to Plitt, this year’s fundraising goal is set at $450,000.
Funds raised are split up between 26 member charity organizations, according to Plitt. Each organization submits a request for funding at the beginning of each year. Plitt said all funds raised for the United Fund of Surry are used in Surry County.
At 7 p.m. on Saturday, many runners gathered at Old North State Winery for a musical performance by The Craig Vaughn Experience. Donations for the United Fund also were collected at that event.
Andy Winemiller can be reached at 336-415-4698 or [email protected]