Editor’s Note: The article first appeared on Step by Step Fundraising on March 4, 2004. Since that time Taylor’s Angels changed its name to Heroes for Children. This nonprofit organization provides financial and social assistance to families, within the state of Texas, with children (0-22 yrs of age) battling cancer.

An Interview with Larissa Linton of Taylor’s Angels

Though her life lasted only 4 years, Taylor Brewton’s bravery while fighting against leukemia touched family and friends. Her will to live and the love and caring she brought out in people remains an amazing accomplishment.

Taylor’s parents, Chris and Larissa, wanted to help other parents facing a similar situation so they established Taylor’s Angels Memorial Fund.

The mission of Taylor’s Angels is to provide financial assistance to families caring for a child with cancer. The families can use the money as they wish to offset the many expenses associated with a childhood cancer diagnosis. Taylor’s Angels also seeks to educate and raise public awareness about all forms of childhood cancer.

One of the ways that Taylor’s Angels raise funds toward this cause is by planning a 5K run/walk. The first 5K was held in May of 2003. I spoke with Larissa about how they began organizing this event, and about its results.

What kind of fundraising does Taylor’s Angels do to support its mission?

We host a golf tournament every October as well as a 5K every May.

How did you come upon the idea for a 5K race for a fundraiser?

My co-chair for this event, Cheri Korstvedt, actually came up with the idea. She is a race-walking coach and has had lots of experience with 5K’s on the participation side. We decided to put our heads together and see if we could pull it off…and we did!!

How did you go about organizing the first race?

Our 1st step was to meet with a local running store that helps to put on these types of events. We chose Run On. They will do as much or as little of the planning/organizing/set up as you want. We handled the planning/organizing and we paid them to set up the scaffolding, sound system and provide timing equipment. They also pointed us in the right direction regarding course certification obtaining insurance, etc…

How many volunteers helped support the event?

Approx. 100

How did you get sponsors for the race?

We approached local businesses and pleaded our case!

What kind of advertising do you do to get participants?

We printed race brochures and posters that we put in area businesses. Our emcee was a local TV personality and she had me on her talk show to promote the race. We contacted local papers and magazines who did articles and listed our event for free in their calendar of events. We went to Chamber of Commerce and Rotary club meetings. We also listed it in various running publications/websites free of charge.

Taylor’s Angels 5K, May 2003

What was the race day like?

Very exciting. Everyone pulled together to make it work. It was truly amazing!! We had approx. 600 participants, and raised over $16,000 after expenses.

What advice would you have for other charities that would like to hold a 5K as a fundraiser?

Start planning at least 6 months in advance, solicit a strong committee, and solicit the help of a local timing/running store.

Thanks for sharing your story with us, Larissa!

As you can see from Larissa’s experience, a 5K can be a fun and profitable fundraiser. It also has the side benefit of increasing awareness of your organization in the community.

As with any event fundraiser, establishing a budget ahead of time is important. Because of rentals, advertising and other costs, money will be needed upfront to prepare for the event.

As Larissa mentioned, start planning at least 6 months in advance. You need as much time as possible to raise corporate sponsors, advertise, gather volunteers and sign up participants.

With proper planning, enthusiasm, dedication and hard work, a 5K can be a rewarding fundraising experience!

Posted on 04 March 2008

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