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Title Sponsor for 15th Annual Pumpkin Run Has Strong Ties with Race

Title Sponsor for 15th Annual Pumpkin Run Has Strong Ties with Race

September 23, 2013

For the third year in a row MidAmerica Nazarene University is the title sponsor for the Jared Coones Pumpkin Run/Walk for cancer awareness Saturday, October 5. This year the university has more than 50 students, faculty, staff and alumni involved in the Olathe event in every aspect from planning, to running, to assisting with race day activities.

MNU Provost Dr. Mary Jones will open the race with prayer as well as participate as a runner. MNU’s sports management students will transport water to the various water stations and MNU Master of Education student Katie Unruh and her husband are heading up the Pumpkin Run’s social media efforts.

Pumpkin Run founder Tom Coones, is a 1991 alumnus of the university. Coones’ wife and son, Jayne and Jared Coones, both died of cancer. Jared passed away in 1998 at the age of 10 after battling leukemia, and Jayne succumbed to inflammatory breast cancer in 2006. The run honors their memory and raises thousands of dollars each year for cancer research.

The run begins at 8 a.m. at Black Bob Elementary School in Olathe. The event 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.

Team MNU participates in the Pumpkin Run to both honor the Coones family and to give support to an Olathe icon of community service.

“MNU is proud to join with Olathe and the surrounding community to honor and support those affected by cancer,” says Dr. Jones. “I’m looking forward to participating!”

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

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