NEW BRITAIN - Every year, thousands of people from New Britain and surrounding communities converge on Walnut Hill Park to join the fight against breast cancer in the annual Race in the Park.
The Connecticut Breast Health Initiative puts on the event every year and has received much support from local businesses and organzations.
This year, first-time sponsor Aetna is offering its employees discounted registration costs for the race. Aetna employees can register for $10 and the company will pay the CT BHI the rest of the cost. In addition to this, Aetna will give the initiative $2.50 for every registered participant, up to $7,500.
“We’ve advertised it to our some 6,000 employees to sort of nudge them to get involved,” said Aetna spokesman Chris Montross.
Montross said events such as Race in the Park are natural extensions of the way Aetna likes to get involved in health-related causes.
Even New Britain schools are getting involved. Smalley Elementary School’s Breast Cancer Awareness Committee has organized a fundraiser. The group recently made a video raising awareness for breast cancer and showing support of the CT BHI. The video can be found on YouTube by searching “Smalley Elementary School - 2017 Breast Cancer Initiative.”
Teams are collecting pledges for the CT BHI. A team at Central Connecticut State University has set a goal of $9,000 by June. Team Amenta, named in honor of 33-year-old breast cancer survivor Katie Amenta, is another team leading the collection effort.
Departments in the city are also huge supporters of Race in the Park.
The Parks and Recreation Department cleans and beautifies Walnut Hill Park in preparation for race day.
“They got the machines out cleaning up sand on the streets, they’ve got lawnmowers out, anything that needs to be painted they’re just fixing it all up so the park is really nice and clean,” said Joyce Bray, president of the initiative.
The police and fire departments also contribute.
Local florist Scott Hammel is donating 500 pink ribbons in support of Race in the Park. People will see these ribbons start popping up around Walnut Hill Park next week.
Dattco will be providing about 20 buses to shuttle people to and from Walnut Hill Park and city garages. The bus company will transport people who park in the Linda Blogoslawski Garage by the courthouse and the Badolato Garage on Washington Street.
Thousands gather each year on the Saturday before Mother’s Day for breakfast, races, games and other activities. Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman and Mayor Erin Stewart will serve as honorary co-chairwomen for this year’s event.
The event starts at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 13, in Walnut Hill Park. Registration is $36 for adults and $15 for people under 18. Racers and race-day volunteers must register in person on Friday, May 12, or the morning of the race.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.