US – LA Long Beach Be The Match Walk/Run
“Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer like leukaemia. You can be a hero to one.” With these stirring words, Be The Match inspired over 300 energetic and enthusiastic supporters to participate in the November 2015 Be The Match 5K Walk / Run in Long Beach, California.
Operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, Be The Match works every day to save lives through transplant. The organization is currently the world’s leader in bone-marrow transplantation research and has managed the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world.
“Heroes for the Cause. Be the One to Save a Life…” The bright array of T-shirts bearing these spirited slogans stood out in the sun, highlighting the seemingly endless line of pursuing, determined and relentless Be The Match 5k runners. They sprinted along the path lining the wide stretch of beach in the warm southern-California sunshine, with the sweat of persistence streaming down their faces, legs and arms; the precious sweat of the Cure – every long stride, every panting breath, every drop of sweat contributing to another dollar towards the cure for blood cancer – to help more people receive a life-saving marrow transplant.
On Saturday, 14 November 2015, RRT Los Angeles started the day by setting up their banners from 7:45 am until 11:00 am. They then spent hours in contact with those whose lives have been irrevocably affected by leukaemia; many of them either survivors or relatives of loved ones lost to the illness. With a consistent supply of water and cheering-on, they ensured that the contestants remained hydrated and motivated throughout the day, enabling them to reach the finish line in victory.
Community. Compassion. Support. The team of willing volunteers exemplified the global RRT ethos by working indefatigably with members of the community – including enthusiastic students from Long Beach University and members of the Be The Match foundation – to show their compassion for the millions of victims of blood cancers, through hours of support for the runners of the Be The Match 5K.
“From the bottom of my heart, I can’t thank you enough.” These words from one grateful runner were echoed in a similar manner by many others. The appreciation expressed by many of those involved was a very rewarding experience – said one RRT volunteer, “Although this is a non-profit organization, our reward is truly the gratitude expressed both verbally and nonverbally by everyone we met – that is our payment; and it is sufficient.”