A day that started with more than 1,300 runners and walkers participating in what is sure to become a Bay area tradition culminated in the Buccaneers' announcing a $30,000 donation that will benefit equally the American Cancer Society, Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation and Moffitt Cancer Center. Adkins, who finished the 5K in 16:34 as the overall male winner and barely held off Larry Smart (16:40) in the Masters category, can appreciate that windfall for breast cancer research as much as the trophy he took home.
"I had a lot of family affected with cancer," said Adkins. "A good friend of the family lost his life to breast cancer, male breast cancer. They’ve been in my thoughts today. My grandma is battling it now, my grandpa is battling now, so I just had them in my thoughts.
"A lot of people are affected by it. It’s nice to see a professional team put on a professional event for the community."
The Treasure Chests 5K was part of a weekend full of activities aimed at raising awareness of the issue of breast cancer and funds to help find a cure for the disease, of which there are currently more than 2.8 million survivors in United States.
“It’s something we wanted to do to show our commitment to everyone here in their fight against breast cancer," said Glazer Family Foundation Co-President Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. "It’s extremely important. Many people know somebody who is touched by breast cancer, they may be touched by breast cancer themselves and it’s very important to get yourself checked because you can save a life.”
The Buccaneers efforts are part of a larger NFL-wide program that emphasizes early screening and has raised more than $4.5 million for the American Cancer Society since 2009. The Buccaneers' breast cancer awareness efforts on Sunday included a halftime ceremony during the game against the Philadelphia Eagles that incorporated 500 Treasure Chests participants; pink and red rally towels for all fans attending the game; a "Text to Give" initiative that raised more funds for cancer research; opportunities to extend messages of hope at stadium entrances; and, of course, hundreds of pink uniform accents worn by Buccaneer and Eagle players. In addition, The Buccaneers played host to a special group from Moffitt Cancer Center on the pirate ship, as individuals representing "Stories of Hope" were honored with a special gameday experience.
The Treasure Chests 5K was the newest part of those efforts and it was a terrific success thanks to the hundreds of participants from around the Bay area.
The Treasure Chests 5K was held around the grounds of Raymond James Stadium, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Pre-registered participants received a reduced-price ticket to the Buccaneers-Eagles game along with an event t-shirt and a micro-chipped race bib. Each registration also included a donation to breast cancer research. An awards ceremony was held at 9:30 to recognize the winners in all four race categories. They were:
|Category ||Name ||Time |
|Male ||Matthew Adkins ||16:34 |
|Female ||Jacki Wachtel ||17:27 |
|Master's Male ||Larry Smart ||16:40 |
|Master's Female ||Alex Gemma ||20:32 |
Jacki Wachtel, the winner in the Female category, calls herself a Bay area "hometown girl" who grew up rooting for the Buccaneers and enjoyed the opportunity to attend Sunday's game after the race.
“I admire the Bucs for stepping out and doing this for runners and … any cancer fighters and survivors," said Wachtel. "They’re getting the awareness out, they can reach a whole lot of people and we are all here to support them. I’m a fan and I’ll always be a fan, but it even makes me more proud to be a Tampa Bay Bucs fan when they do these types of things in the community. They’ve always, I felt, reached out to the community and given a lot of support to different research foundations and I just admire them for doing it.
"It’s a great event and anything I can do to help support the cause, I will. I feel running is my way to help and this is just a great event."
Elated by the turnout for Sunday morning's race and by the help it will bring to such an important cause, Glazer Kassewitz predicted that the Treasure Chests 5k will become an "important annual tradition" for the Bay area.
“We’re so thrilled," she said. "We had over 1,300 people here today coming out to join the Buccaneers at this Treasure Chest 5k. It was beautiful showing of people. We were very proud to host this weekend’s inaugural Treasure Chests 5K Run/Walk event and have the opportunity to make an impact in the lives of the many thousands of Bay area residents who have been affected by breast cancer."