MNU is proud to announce it is the title sponsor for the 14th Annual Jared Coones Pumpkin Run/Walk for cancer awareness  Saturday, October 13. The Pumpkin Run was founded by MNU alumnus Tom Coones, whose wife and son, Jayne and Jared Coones, both died of cancer. Jared Coones passed away at the age of 10 after battling leukemia, and Jayne succumbed to inflammatory breast cancer in 2006.

The run begins at 8 a.m. at Black Bob Elementary School in Olathe. The event also features a balloon release in memory of Jared and Jayne, children’s activities, and an award ceremony. Event organizers say this year’s run is shaping up to have a record number of participants.

Tom Coones said he founded the run to ensure that the lives of his wife and son will never be forgotten.

“It is our mission to honor the lives of Jared and Jayne; to create an event that celebrates family and community; to raise funds for research and organizations that support cancer patients and their families,” wrote Coones on the event’s website.

Organizations that benefit from the Pumpkin Run include Children’s Mercy Cancer Center, The Dream Factory, and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Nearly 50 MNU students, faculty, and staff members will band together to run in memory of the Coones family. Though MNU team members run for all sorts of reasons, there is one unifying factor – everyone involved has been affected by cancer in some way.

Freshman kinesiology major Sarah Dodge said running in the Pumpkin Run is a way to honor a dear friend. 

“I love to run for a cause,” said Dodge. “This run is special to me because my best friend’s mom passed away from breast cancer and leukemia. I'll be running in memory of her.”

Whatever the stories of the individual runners, MNU is proud to join with Olathe and the surrounding community to honor and support those affected by cancer.

To learn more about the Pumpkin Run or to register for the run, visit pumpkinrunwalk.org.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To read about one MNU faculty member’s journey to becoming cancer free visit: www.mnu.edu/news/survivors-story.