My husband and I lost our 24-year-old son, Peter McGee Hoffman, to oral cancer in 2009 after a seven-month-battle. During those seven months, Peter voiced his ambitions to start a 5K walk/run to raise funds to combat this issue. It has taken our family several years to fulfill his dream, but this year we partnered up with the Oral Cancer Foundation to organize an event in Peter’s memory to raise both awareness of the disease and funds to help others struggling with it. This 5K was going to be the first oral cancer awareness event of its kind in the Washington, DC area. We were fortunate enough to have several oral surgeons and dentists in the Maryland/DC area help us out with sponsorships. It was at the suggestion of the Oral Cancer Foundation that we contacted Henry Schein for their help.
We originally set a fundraising goal of $15,000 and hoped to have 200 people attend. We ended up raising close to $60,000 and had more than 350 people come out to support this worthy cause. There was also a “virtual” walk in London’s Regent Park with about 20 people participating. Thanks to the generosity of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, we were able to offer free oral cancer screenings as well as provide toothpaste and brushes to the bags that were distributed with educational literature. Three dentists and one hygienist volunteered their time on the day of the event to perform screenings, and an oral cancer survivor gave a moving address about his experiences.
Many attendees commented on how this was the first time they had even heard of oral cancer. Dentists commented on the value of preventive screeningst. Our family now hopes to continue this event in coming years with wishes of raising oral cancer awareness as well as encouraging oral cancer screenings at their next dental visit.
Thank you again for Henry Schein’s involvement in this event….our family and all of those who attended the 5K are deeply grateful.