FAIR HILL — Runners dressed in pig costumes were some of the first people on the Cecil County Fairgrounds on Saturday morning for the annual “Running with the Pigs,” 5K. The costumed athletes were part of an effort to raise money to help local people suffering from breast cancer pay for the expenses that come with treatment.
“It stays in the county,” organizer Virginia Ferver said about the money raised. “It all goes to gas cards, co-pays and to help people in Cecil County get assistance in whatever they need, food, it pays for medicine if they don’t have insurance.”
The 5k is one of two events, along with “Smash for a Cure” at the fair that raises money for the Union Hospital Breast Health Center. Over 150 runners participated in the race, which has been an institution at the fair for 10 years.
“Breast cancer can be so devastating to a family’s finances,” Ferver said.
Ferver herself had cancer, but had to drive to Philadelphia for treatment, showing her how people who were less fortunate may not have been able to afford commutes to the hospital.
Ferver said the name of the event comes from how pigs would be corralled across the fairgrounds to be moved on Sunday.
Elkton resident Megan Austin participated in the race to honor family members who passed away from breast cancer.
“When I was running, I was calling their names like come on get me to the end,” Austin said.
The best dressed pig, Fair Hill resident Pat Sawyer said this year was his third race, and he also came out to run in support of his family.
“I’ve had multiple family members who’ve had breast cancer, fortunately they all survived,” Sawyer said.
Sawyer was joined by his daughter and two grandchildren.
Cecil County resident Charlotte Bogus ran with a little stuffed pig on her shoulder throughout the 5K. She mainly participated to run to get healthy and fit for her children.
“It was such a good cause,” Bogus said. “I was running and alot of motivation was from women wearing ‘hope stickers.’”
Hunter Madron began “Smash for a Cure” in 2013 to raise additional money for Union Hospital. In the event, people give a donation to hit a bus or a car with a hammer, and the vehicle is later entered in the demolition derby. In eight years, the event has raised over $12k according to Madron.
Hunter’s brother Brayden, said the project was part of Hunter’s 4-H experience.
“It’s exciting knowing that I can help the project and help breast cancer survivors,” Brayden said.