Running is a popular form of exercise, but for some people it serves as a way to give back to their community.
GCC student Cathlyn Flores laced up her running shoes Sunday for the Glendale News-Press Downtown Dash 5K, which raises funds to help prevent stroke and to raise awareness about the potentially fatal effects.
The Dash is hosted by the Glendale Adventist Medical Center, which has raised more than $400,000 since 2007. The race was estimated to raise $50,000 this year toward the center’s stroke foundation, according to center media coordinator Alicia Gonzalez.
Flores, a 21-year-old administrative justice major, enjoys the competition of the event, but her main reason for running is personal.
“I did it for my great grandma,” said Flores, who placed 10th in her age division. “She had a stroke about a year and a half ago.”
Strokes are the second leading cause of death in the San Fernando Valley and the leading cause of adult disability in the U.S. The money raised, known as “Dash Dollar$,” funded the first Stroke Medication Management and Education Clinic in the community.
The center’s Neuroscience Institute helps stroke patients optimize the effectiveness of their medications. In addition, new technology has been made available for the Certified Advanced Primary Stroke Center in Glendale, which is the area’s only immediate response facility for stroke victims.
The center also educates the local community and Glendale Unified School District by exhibiting an interactive MEGA Brain in 2011, which is an inflatable walk-through, human brain that offers a close up view of the brain’s functions and damages caused by stroke, brain trauma and other diseases.
Glendale Community College Police Chief Gary Montecuollo, has been volunteering since the first race. He organizes traffic and parking around the course, and offers his administrative justice students an extra credit opportunity if they volunteer or participate in the race.
“It’s a good way for the students to give back to the community,” Montecuollo said.
Ariel Larios, a 20-year-old criminal justice major, raced for the extra credit opportunity and took second place in his age division.
Samantha Wilson, 18, a Pasadena City College nursing student, has been participating since 2011. She plans to run or volunteer for as many years as she can.
“I like what they’re running for,” said Wilson, who volunteers at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.
For anyone who wants to participate next year, but doesn’t know where to start, the center offers an eight-week, 5K training program. All registration fees are donated to GAMC Stroke Services. For those who don’t want to run, but still want to participate contact the center at (818) 409-8100 for more information about volunteering.