United for a Cure 5K a rousing success

Anne Little, from the Pink Crisis Fund (formally known as Tough Enough to Wear Pink) was on hand at Lake Butler Hospital for the United for a Cure event, providing information on the program.


Special to the Times

LAKE BUTLER—More than 250 runners and walkers gathered at Lake Butler Hospital on Sat., Sept. 29, to support loved ones, friends, and neighbors who have been cancer victims. 

The crowd was colorful, decked out in beads, feather boas, and t-shirts in color, representing the type of cancer that had somehow affected their lives.

The age range was broad, from babies in carriages pushed by their mom or dad through adults and seniors, a few of the latter taking on the 5K course in wheelchairs or using canes. 

Union County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Sheriff Brad Whitehead were on hand to control traffic and keep everyone safe.

  This was the second year of the annual event, and this year, it surpassed the first in terms of both donations and number of participants. 

Donations topped out last year’s tally, with the 2023 total hitting $70,000, bettering last year’s figure of $42,000, and with about 50 more people participating.


Local fitness instructor Latoya Mitchell got the participants to warm up before the event began.

The first annual United for a Cure 5K was organized as a group effort by individuals from Shadd Trucking and Lake Butler Hospital.

The group reached out to other community members to organize last year’s event and, for this year, made the community partnership official by incorporating the organization. 

The corporation has been approved as a 501c3 – a non-profit organization.  United for a Cure Inc. is made up of Carita Wall, Mendy Whitaker, Tina Lloyd, and Jill Walding.

  The proceeds from the event will be handled differently this year, thanks to the new organizational structure.  Some of the money will be sent to the various cancer foundations to support cancer research and education, but a portion will be kept in the community to assist local residents undergoing treatment. 

Expenses like gas, transportation, prescriptions, and preventative screenings are often beyond the financial means of many Union County residents. 

More information about how to apply for this assistance is on the organization’s website – UnitedForaCureInc.com. 

Information about the organization is also available on its Facebook page, United for a Cure, Inc.

  About 40 local organizations and businesses chose to make cash donations and to provide other services.  Woodman Life donated snow cones, given out free to participants and their families, and served by Lake Butler Woman’s Club members. 

Just a few of the 250 walkers/runners who made it through the 5K course.

In addition, Brad Elixson presented organizers with a check for $25,000 on behalf of Woodman Life at the beginning of the event. 

Fitness instructor Latoya Mitchell helped participants warm up, and it was time to get moving.    In about 35 minutes, the pack leaders, who ran the entire course, came into view and crossed the finish line.  After the kilometers were in the books and everyone got some cold water, it was time for lunch and then several cancer survivors spoke.

  While organizers clearly stated there would be no winner declared as they considered all who came out to be winners, one could not help but notice the man who ran the entire course and crossed the finish line in the lead – amazing because he had a very bad chest cold, but came out to show his support of the event anyway – named Jeff Consaul, a pharmacist at the hospital pharmacy. 

The event was fun and festive, and Union County residents participating got the chance to show their hearts to the world.  

Everyone started lining up for free snow cones donated by Woodmen Life and served by members of the Lake Butler Woman’s Club.
Tracy Toms and Debbie Williams, from the Union County Health Department offered participants a selection of literature to assist them in improving their health.
Before the event even got started Brad Elixson with Woodman Life hand delivered a check for a $25,000 donation. Pictured are (l-r): Carita Wall, Mendy Whitaker, Brad Elixson, Jill Walding and Tina Lloyd.
Too many to list, the 250+ walkers/runners who came out to show their support for friends, loved ones and neighbors with cancer.
Not the winner (because none was named) but still a winner, Lake Butler Hospital Pharmacist Jeff Consaul ran the entire route and was the first to return to the hospital. He did this despite having a severe chest cold.