04/04/10 — WATCH 5K run May 8 to raise money for program

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WATCH 5K run May 8 to raise money for program

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on April 4, 2010 1:50 AM

Wayne Action Teams for Community Health, or WATCH, has come up with another way to meet some of the needs of the uninsured in Wayne County, while encouraging a healthier lifestyle.

WATCH Me Run, a 5-kilometer run/walk event, will be held on Saturday, May 8, at Stoney Creek Park on Ash Street.

Typically, the non-profit program has relied on an annual golf tournament to replenish budgetary needs.

But not everyone is a golfer, says Ann King, nurse practitioner on the WATCH mobile van that travels around the county. Hopefully, the run will elicit interest from a more widespread audience.

With the added benefit of promoting a healthy activity.

"I'm a runner and that's how I lost my weight," Ms. King said. "I started out walking. That started me working on it and I really enjoyed it, being out with other people."

She has already begun promoting the notion among her patients.

"It's a lifestyle change," she said. "It's also just a good time to get together, just promote wellness."

Beyond the individual benefits, though, Ms. King said the fundraiser will provided needed money for the program to replenish supplies.

"It's for some equipment that we need that's out of our budget, with us being grant funded, things that have worn out, that we need," she said.

But the greatest focus is in the area of ensuring that the uninsured in Wayne County have access to medication. WATCH participates in a patient assistance program, but that usually takes four to six weeks to receive items.

For patients just getting out of the hospital or in need of life-saving medications, time is of the essence, Ms. King said.

"That's somebody going without medication," she explained. "I try to do a generic option, but some things there's just no options."

Since it was introduced to the community in 1998, WATCH has mushroomed and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, Ms. King said, many have been patients for years and staff is seeing more serious concerns, more diseases represented.

"We're doing everything we can to bridge that gap until they can get Medicaid or insurance," she said.

The May 8 run will hopefully create more awareness, as well as support for the program.

In addition to participants, sponsors are also needed. Those who contribute $50 will also get their name on the event T-shirt, given to all runners, and will allow for the purchase of medals for event winners.

The pre-registration fee of $20 must be postmarked by May 1, or delivered to WATCH on Cox Boulevard by May 6. On-site registration of $25 begins at 7:30 a.m. on race day. The race begins at 8:30.

Other activities include a one-mile dog walk, disc golf and a reggae band.

For more information, contact Ms. King at 910-934-6438.