On Saturday, hundreds gathered at the Heartland Cancer Center in Garden City for the 12th annual Leave A Legacy 5K and 10K road race.

The foundation started in 2007 to honor Laura Kleysteuber, who died that year after a six-year battle with brain cancer.

“The idea was to originally honor Laura, however, we quickly realized that almost everyone knows someone in their lives who has been affected by cancer. This event is a way for people to honor and remember them,” said Paige Kraus, St. Catherine Hospital development foundation stewardship coordinator.

The goal, she said, is to continually see participation in the event grow each year. Before the event began, the race had already attracted about 900 pre-registered runners, some coming from out of state, Kraus said.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Grj5_7bWuLE

“Our goal is to have 1,000 participants the morning of the event, and I see us meeting that no problem,” Kraus said.

No problem indeed.

This year's event featured a record number of participants, 1,091, up from 832 last year.

Leave a Legacy is one of several events throughout the year to raise money for cancer patients and those undergoing treatment. One of the other events is Laura’s Touches, a project that provides gift cards, gas cards, movie tickets, snacks, beverages and more to patients undergoing treatments and the doctors and nurses tending to them.

Funds from these events have been used to help purchase the cancer center’s 3D mammography machine and pay for St.Catherine’s membership for the Midwest Cancer Alliance. All of the proceeds from these events stay local, Kraus said.

Saturday’s 5K and 10K began at Heartland Cancer Center and continued across the downtown area. Participants of the road race could enter as an individual or as a team. Individual participants Kaci Finch and Gillian Stone have participated in the event for years. The race was a way to support loved ones affected by cancer and to support the community, Finch said.

“It’s a really cool community event that supports local cancer patients ... and it’s special to come out here and honor the lives of people that we love and celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer and won,” Stone said.

While Stone and Finch have been participating for years, for others, this was their first time, Linda Hinde and Jennifer Truelove, members of the Brookover team, said they were participating to honor Scott and Julia Plankenhorn.

“This is our first year participating and we plan to do it again. We are thankful for Brookover for putting together and sponsoring our whole team of participants.”

Along with a 5K and 10K walk/run, there was also a kid’s fun run and a pancake feed outside of the Heartland Cancer Center. In the lawn area of St. Catherine Hospital, there were signs displayed with the names of loved ones battling or who have battled cancer in the past. On the signs read the message at the heart of the event: “Who do you run for?"