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Event Planning raises funds and organizes 5K for K-9 Cancer Run/Walk

Event Planning raises funds and organizes 5K for K-9 Cancer Run/Walk

By Alli Bates ’16

For the past three years, an Otterbein sport management class has held an event where dogs and dog lovers alike can participate for a good cause.

The 5K for K-9 Cancer Run/Walk is organized by Hilary Seif, Otterbein Professor Teri Walter and Walter’s Event Planning students. They have high hopes of raising awareness for canine cancer in central Ohio. Their goal is to raise at least $30,000 each year, with all of the proceeds earmarked for clinical investigation of the diagnosis and treatment of cancer in dogs.

“In the summer of 2013, I lost my golden retriever, Newman, to cancer. It all happened very sudden and very fast. He was only six years old,” said Seif. “On my drive home from the vet that day, I vowed to do something in the fight against canine cancer. I came up with the idea of having a 5K with all the money raised being donated for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.”

Seif, a 1995 Otterbein graduate who now works in the Registrar’s Office, decided to reach out to some Otterbein connections to make her idea happen. She emailed the Chair of the Department of Health and Sport Sciences Joan Rocks, asking for advice on who to work with. Rocks directed her to a familiar face.

“Teri Walter was my badminton professor when I was a student. She now teaches an experiential sport management course where groups of students work on planning, managing and hosting several events at the end of the semester. I contacted Teri and we got started on planning,” said Seif.

Walter begins the first half of each semester in Event Planning by front-loading the course with classroom based learning and instruction. The remaining eight weeks revolves around the planning and execution of each groups’ event. The students are divided into three or four teams, all working on independent events, with one working on the 5K.

“The students start with a ‘zero budget’,” said Walter. “Beginning with a clean slate fosters creativity and ingenuity when developing partnerships with vendors and sponsors. It also sets us apart from other event planning groups because we do not take any percentage or reimbursement from sponsors or the charity. It all goes towards the cause.”

All 100% of the proceeds are donated to The MedVet Charitable Foundation for the clinical investigation of the diagnosis and treatment of canine cancer. This year, the proceeds from the 5K will fund several new initiatives including the purchase of 3D printer technology that can be used for medical purposes. This technology can also be used to make models for hands-on practice prior to surgery, creating fracture repair instruments and producing models for teaching purposes and client education.

Walter says the partnership with 5K for K-9 Cancer Run/Walk was originally started as a one-time event. However, student evaluations and feedback from the participants, exhibitors sponsors stressed the importance of having the event every year possible. Walter and her class just finished their third year organizing the event.

On the day of the 5K, Seif, Walter and the Event Planning students all arrive at 6 a.m. at the Otterbein Cross Country course. They finish setting-up the route, assist vendors and exhibitors with their booths, begin registration, organize the silent auction items, sell t-shirts and layout the dog-related activity areas. The race begins at 10 a.m. and tear-down begins around 12 p.m.

“This event is not your typical 5K walk/run where participants show up, run the race, then leave, all within 45 minutes. We have so much more for them to do and learn, all with their dogs by their side,” said Seif.

The 5K for K-9 Cancer Run/Walk’s success has increased each year since beginning in 2014. The original goal was to raise $10,000, but with the help of Walter’s class, they more than doubled that to $22,000. Each year has seen significant growth in participants and donations. This year’s race surpassed the $40,000 goal set by the students. Donations are still being accepted online at http://www.otterbein.edu/Events/5kk9cancerrunwalk.

“We continue to see amazing numbers year after year thanks to all the students’ and volunteers’ hard work,” said Walter. “We’ve found a cause that really tugs on the heartstrings. We have all lost a pet or know someone who has lost a pet to cancer. It’s wonderful for my class to help make a difference.”