Olivia’s 5K Wish Walk/Run planned for Oct. 5

The third annual Olivia’s 5K Walk/Run is planned for Oct. 5 at 11 a.m. at Evangola State Park. The event is USATF sanctioned and the course is USATF certified.

Before leaving her family, friends and students, Olivia Coia told her loved ones that she had two last wishes: to start a run/walk in her name, and to raise money for cancer research and for scholarships for the kids she loved to teach. She was a special education teacher at Silver Creek Central School.

At 32, Olivia lost her life to triple negative breast cancer, a particularly aggressive version of the disease.

The race’s name, “Olivia’s 5K Wish Run,” comes from what she told her family before she died. Every year that this event is held, Olivia’s last wishes are being fulfilled.

The event is looking for financial sponsors, post-party donations of refreshments and items for the silent auction and raffles. Olivia’s family and all of the families whose lives were affected by TNBC appreciate any support the community can lend.

This year, race organizers are hoping to get even more schools involved. Teachers and students can get together to fundraise, and schools can come out to run the course together or to cheer on friends. The more help and support the community can give, the more Olivia’s family and friends can give back to the schools and their students. Sign up or donate today, and help make Olivia’s wish come true.

Monetary donations can be sent to “Olivia’s 5K Wish Run” Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation (NCCF), 212 Lake Shore Drive West, Dunkirk NY 14048.

If individuals or businesses can help with donations of food, beverages, or auction/raffle items, they are asked to make this known by Sept. 23 so that their names can be added to the banners and other promotional materials. For a $500 donation or more, the sponsor’s name will be added to the back of the race T-shirt.

For more information or to make a donation, contact David Coia at 934-7499 or at coiadavid@yahoo.com. Visit the race website at www.olivias5kwishrun.webs.com, or follow the race news on Facebook.

Registration for the event can be done online, or registration forms can be obtained directly from David Coia. Runners and walkers can also sign up on the day of the race at 9:30 a.m. at the race site.

The first 350 people to register will get a T-shirt. There will be a great post-party with awards, food, beverages, a silent auction and raffles.

People don’t have to run or walk to take part in the event. Come out to cheer on the runners and walkers, enjoy the company, and support Olivia’s wishes by buying tickets for the auction and raffle.

Every person donating will be helping raise money for cancer research and scholarships.

Olivia’s 5K Wish Run/Walk and the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation recently announced the 2012-2013 recipients of Olivia’s Memorial Scholarships. Both agencies would like to congratulate the winners, and thank all of the students who applied.

The winners of $500 scholarships are as follows: Emily Baumgarden of Lake Shore Central School, Kendra Catalano of Forestville Central School, Justine Chitwood of Pine Valley Central School, Kaitlyn Lacki of Cassadaga Valley Central School and Anna Hartinger of Silver Creek Central School.

The winners of the $1,000 scholarships are Allie Gorka of Silver Creek Central School and Laura Woods of Fredonia Central School.

A $10,000 donation was made in Olivia Coia’s name to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, so that Dr. Eric Winer and his team can continue their research into triple negative breast cancer.

Olivia’s family, friends, the NCCF and race organizers want to thank all of the past sponsors and volunteers who have helped every year to make this plan a reality. Without them, Olivia’s wishes couldn’t come true.

A special thank you goes out to Mark James at Kix Country 96.5 100.5, WDOE 1410 AM and 94.9 FM for all of their help. Also, thank you to the OBSERVER and the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation staff members for all of their help and support.