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story.lead_photo.caption Going pink: Runners and walkers fill the streets of downtown El Dorado as the 2017 Paint the Town Pink 5k run/walk. The annual event is sponsored by #teamCorrie Cancer Foundation and raises funds to assist cancer patients.

Superheroes big and small participated in #teamCorrie Cancer Foundation’s fifth Paint the Town Pink 5K Color Fun Run/Walk, bring awareness to cancer and the organization that helps patients in Union County.

“I’m her mom, Corrie’s mom … The first time it was done when Corrie was still alive to raise money for her expenses as she was fighting breast cancer and I think that first one we had a whole lot more people there because so many friends, family and people from all over came for her and her fight,” board president Sandy Gross said.

The foundation’s namesake, Corrie Jo Gross Bechtelheimer, got to see a color run before she lost her two-year fight against breast cancer in 2014, Gross said.

Corrie’s sister, Kristi Lowery, said, “Before she passed away, she was very adamant that she made us promise that we continue to help other cancer patients fighting just like this community came together and helped her … We do a balloon release in her memory at the beginning of it. We just want to keep her legacy alive.”

To keep Corrie’s promise and fight on, the non-profit continues to cover downtown El Dorado in vibrant colors and it couldn’t be done without the volunteers along the route, she said.

“We still have a tremendous amount of support. We have two, three, sometimes 400 people that show up … There are about as many people along the route helping as there are that walk it,” Gross said “As it’s grown people have brought strollers, golf carts and things and made it kind of a family affair, too.”

People like Joshua Thompson and Christine Jones participated in the super hero-themed color run to either raise awareness or honor someone affected by cancer.

“My aunt had breast cancer last year, so I’m doing it in remembrance of that. She’s a breast cancer survivor and she actually defeated it this year … She had a niece at 5 o’clock this morning so she couldn’t come today,” Thompson said.

Jones heard about the event through friends and decided to join a group “to support those who are going through trying times with cancer,” she said.

“I haven’t done this before. It was awesome. We had a great time. My little man, he’s two. He loves running through the color parts of it, getting dirty, rolling around on the ground,” Jones said.

Money collected through registration fees will fund one-time grants for county residents going through “active treatment” to help with their medical expenses. The non-profit recently award its 64th $1,000 grant, Gross said.

“Our foundation gives grants to anybody fighting any kind of cancer so we’re hoping to make people more aware of how many people are actually in the fight for their life.”

For more information about #teamCorrie Cancer Foundation or to apply for a grant, visit or the foundation’s Facebook page.

Brittany Williams may be reached at 870-862-6611 or Follow her on Twitter and like her on Facebook @BWilliamsEDNT for updates on Union County school news.

Race Winners

Race Winner: Michael Brotherton, 23.00

Second Place: Korbin McAuliffe, 24.04

Third Place: Nick Hardin

Honorary Adult Participant: Devin Osborn

Honorary Youth Participant: Nick Harvey, Cash Stone and Justin Obiozo

Oldest Male: Dr. Len Brotherton, Jurgen Lugowski

Oldest Female: Katie Inman, Alison Stone

Youngest Female: Madison Sullivan

Best Group: Logan Jeter and Kerry Murphree’s groups

Best Stroller: Jennifer Matthews

Best Wagon: Jennifer Cropper

Team Spirit: Linda Burton and the Three Amigos

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