Cross Out Cancer Announces Theme and Future Plans

September 13, 2018


Photo Credit: @cross_out_cancer5k/Instagram (used with permission)

According to the American Childhood Cancer Organization, one in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer before they turn 20.

On November 17, 2018, the fourth annual Cross Out Cancer 5K will be held at Picnic Island Park. Made up of cross country runners from high schools across Tampa, Cross Out Cancer, Inc. raises money for pediatric cancer patients at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, which is located in St. Petersburg. The organization’s goal is “to ease the financial burden on the families of pediatric cancer patients.”

Academy alum Lizzie Dolan (‘17) started the nonprofit organization in 2015. After organizing the event for two years, Dolan placed the event under the leadership of Greta Dieck (‘19). This is Dieck’s second year coordinating the 5K.

Dieck said, “My title is Executive Director, which basically means that I am in charge of Cross Out Cancer. Basically, I plan the meetings, organize our schedule, and come up with representative requirements. I also reach out to sponsors, so I am the one that maintains a lot of our professional relationships. I do a little bit of personal donations as well.”

Dieck feels that her experience with Cross Out Cancer is rewarding in two ways.

“For me, I think that there are two parts to it. There’s what makes Cross Out Cancer Cross Out Cancer which is that we help the kids. When we do get to meet and interact with the kids, it is an incredible feeling. And then there’s the planning the race part of it, so when you get to stand on stage with the check, it is an amazing feeling. Last year, it was so emotionally involved the entire time because you work so hard on it.”

This year, the members of the Cross Out Cancer board decided that the race’s theme will be “Leaving Our Footprint” in order to emphasize the change in leadership that will occur after the Class of 2019’s graduation.

Dieck said, “Our theme for 2018 is ‘Leaving Our Footprint.’ The idea is that with two-thirds of our executive board graduating, we want to make the transition for the next class of leadership as smooth as possible, so we are really emphasizing our community impact.”

Dieck plans to implement this goal by increasing the promotion of Cross Out Cancer not only on a personal level, but also on the professional level through sponsors. Overall, they aim to increase participation.

Dieck said, “Emphasizing our community impact means making the 5K bigger and attracting more runners to the event. We are still focusing on fundraising, but we also are shifting to a more sustainable model. Instead of just relying on personal relationships, like who you know that will donate, we are going to try to move to professional relationships that can be maintained no matter who is in charge.”

Next year, Cross Out Cancer will be taken over by Megan Hughes (‘20) and Jesuit student Sean Doherty (‘20). Both students are currently members of the Cross Out Cancer Board.

Hughes holds the position of Secretary of the Executive Board. Her responsibilities include keeping representatives from other schools informed about meetings, planning meetings, and tracking donations from sponsors.

Hughes said, “As I got to know Greta through Academy’s Cross Country team, her passion for Cross Out Cancer shone through and became contagious. I soon expressed a desire to be more involved in the great cause she’s led in the past year and a half. During this past track season, my hopes became a reality when Sean Doherty asked me to be his assistant director.”

Hughes looks forward to her role as Assistant Executive Director for many reasons.

Hughes said, “In taking over Cross Out Cancer next year, I am excited to assume a position that enables me to contribute to the community, especially pediatric cancer patients and their families, in ways I never would have thought possible outside of the organization. I look forward to carrying on the legacy of a sustainable nonprofit that has brought such hope and light to the Tampa Bay area in the last few years.”

Those who run or walk the Cross Out Cancer 5K will receive service hours or Beta hours. The event is also a Key Club event, and those who wish to volunteer through the club or in general can sign up to volunteer on the Cross Out Cancer website.

Dieck said, “We have a bake sale coming up on October seventeenth, which is going to be huge. In addition to that, we have a registration drive that is also happening on October seventeenth and eighteenth. If you sign up on the seventeenth, you get a baked good and some other free Cross Out Cancer gear, so I really encourage people to come register that day.”

Those who are interested in attending the 5K can sign up here.

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