Betty Allen went all out when she got dressed Saturday morning.
Wearing a bright pink tutu with a black shirt that had the breast cancer ribbon on the front and a hat with pink and white sparkly ribbons, she stood out among a sea of people at Carver Elementary School.
“When I was getting dressed, I felt like I was going to the Grammys,” Allen said. “When I got here this morning, and all the cameras started snappin’, I really felt like I was at the Grammys.”
Allen was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2018, just eight months after her husband of 43 years died. During her treatment, Allen received help from the Outlaw Foundation — a local nonprofit organization that seeks to provide financial support to cancer patients.
“The whole time I had my treatment, I didn’t have to worry about my light bill because Outlaw Foundation came through and took care of my light bill the whole time,” Allen said. “It’s people like us that can keep this foundation going.”
When she was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, she attended the Outlaw Foundation’s fifth annual 5K Run/Walk just a few months later. It was then she decided what she and her family would wear the following year as a survivor: pink tutus.
“I’ve had a pretty tough year,” Allen said. “But, I want everybody here to know that as long as you got your family, and you got your church family and you got your friends — you can survive, and that’s half the battle.”
Today, Allen is a breast cancer survivor thanks to support from her family, friends, her treatment and the Outlaw Foundation.
The Outlaw Foundation, known as O3 (Outlaw, Outlive, Outlast), was founded by Bill Outlaw. It is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families. The organization has served more than 225 families in Eastern North Carolina, and has provided assistance with electric bills, groceries, mortgages and more.
More than 300 people gathered at Carver Elementary School for the Outlaw Foundation’s sixth annual 5K Run/Walk on Saturday morning. Many were donning T-shirts supporting family members or friends who were receiving treatment for cancer or were survivors of cancer. Many of the participants were survivors themselves.
Jessica Bryan, one of the event organizers, said she was extremely pleased with the turnout and weather. She could not provide an estimate for how much the 5K raised but said the event averages somewhere between $12,000 to $13,000 each year.
The Outlaw Foundation provided a new certified 5K course for the event, Bryan said. The new course started and ended in the Carver Elementary parking lot and avoided crossing railroad tracks, which Bryan said is safer for the runners and walkers.
Dawn Marshburn and her family wore purple shirts with pink puffy paint writing in support of Marshburn’s daughter, Allyson Marshburn, who is a survivor of Hodgkin lymphoma. Dawn Marshburn said her family attended the Outlaw Foundation 5K when it first started to support their friend but said this year was different.
“This year is extra special because my daughter, Allyson, just completed her chemo,” Dawn Marshburn said. “She’s clean. So, we’re walking in honor of her and in honor of Betty Allen, a friend of ours.”
Carol McLamb participated in the 5K for the first time this year, wearing a pink T-shirt and pink decorative hat. McLamb was diagnosed with breast cancer at the end of 2013, and while she is in remission, she said she does not know if she’s cured. She said she wanted to participate in the 5K run/walk as a way to support other people who are struggling with cancer or who are survivors of cancer.
“Since I’ve been diagnosed, I’ve had seven friends diagnosed after me with different types of cancers, and they’ve all died,” McLamb said.
“There has to be a reason for me living, and if it’s for me to give and to support other people going through this struggle, I’m there for them.”