Sprinting Toward a Cure
On October 5, 2019, the first morning that finally felt like fall on Emory’s campus, almost 3,500 “Winship Warriors” took their places at the starting line for the ninth annual Winship Win the Fight 5K Run/Walk. A family-friendly event hosted by Atlanta Dream head coach Nicki Collen, the event’s first female Grand Marshal, the Winship 5K supports Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.
Inspired by his passion for running—and for curing cancer—Winship’s executive director, Wally Curran, proposed the 5K event in 2011. Since its inception, the race has raised more than $5 million to support cancer research. Participants can direct their donations to benefit the Winship 5K Professorship, the Winship Director’s Fund, or any of 17 cancer research funds.
At the event, cancer survivors, caregivers, supporters, Winship faculty and staff, and members of the Emory community come together to tackle a 3.1-mile Peachtree Road Race qualifying course that starts and ends on the Emory campus and winds its way through Druid Hills. The run/walk celebrates cancer survivors and gives participants a chance to directly support cancer research at Winship Cancer Institute.
Why I Run - Rori Spielman 22C
I got involved in the Winship 5K for Tracey Kurzweil. I’d known her my entire life. She was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and passed away nine months after beginning treatment. She was the most bubbly and lively person I've ever met. No matter what, she just kept a smile on her face and faced the day.
Her husband, Ken, inspired me to continue her legacy and honor her memory through the Winship 5K. We paired up for Team Tracy and fundraised through personal connections and on campus. I reached out to every member of the Greek community and showed how much I genuinely cared. And, it’s not just me; everyone knows the struggle and has their own connection, so they donated.
Everyone has a reason to care about Winship and about cancer. There is such a community—at Emory and in the Atlanta community as a whole—and they showed up on Friday night and then again on Saturday morning. It really surprised me how many Emory students woke up that early on a Saturday morning to volunteer or to run or walk, and just to show their support for the 5K and for the teams.
This experience was a great stepping stone into the many things I want to do to help Winship and raise awareness about non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers. I am taking this as a learning experience and am planning to grow my team and my donations.
It's so important, because cancer affects everyone. It affects someone you know. We need to share how devastating it is, but also how you can rise above the devastation and turn it into something positive.
Georgia’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, Winship Cancer Institute serves as the coordinating site for cancer research, education, and care throughout Emory University. For more than 80 years, Winship has been working to lessen the burden of cancer through rigorous research, innovative clinical trials, and compassionate patient care.
Winship was founded in 1937 with a generous gift from Coca-Cola President Robert Winship Woodruff, and named after his mother. Woodruff’s mission was to bring together cancer physicians and researchers so that no one would need to leave the state of Georgia to receive the best cancer care. In its first year, Winship treated 168 patients. Winship Cancer Institute now sees more than 17,000 patients annually.
Into the future
Winship Cancer Institute continues to grow and expand, offering the most cutting-edge research and treatments.
- The Emory Proton Therapy Center, opened in December 2018, has served more 100 patients thus far. Utilizing the powerful and precise treatment for certain cancers, Emory Proton Therapy Center is the only facility of its kind in Georgia, and one of fewer than 30 in the United States
- Winship recently opened a new Phase I Clinical Trials Unit—the largest unit in Georgia dedicated to the critical phase of testing new cancer therapies.
- Thanks to a generous gift by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, construction on a new Winship Cancer Institute tower at Emory University Hospital Midtown will start later this year. Expected to be complete in 2023, the building will be 17 stories tall, with 455,000 square feet of space.