Jun. 11—The Heart and Sole Cancer Walk will don a new look in a new location on Friday, June 18.
Hitchcock Park will be the host site of this summer's Heart and Sole Cancer Walk, shifting away from the previous Mitchell Middle School location. Excitement is high among event coordinators for the new setup, which will mark the first Heart and Sole Cancer Walk to be hosted inside the community park.
"We wanted to utilize one of the city's best parks, and we hope this will also help expose more people to what city facilities Mitchell has to offer," said Darcy Sabers, Heart and Sole Committee President. "It will be so nice having the shade as well, because that can sometimes deter people from coming since it is usually very hot at that time of year."
While committee members were considering to keep the cancer walk at the school this summer, Sabers said the district's policy if a potential COVID-19 outbreak were to occur in Mitchell could have caused a sudden cancellation. Rather than running the risk of having to change locations or cancel the event in the weeks leading up to it due to an outbreak, Sabers said the city-owned Hitchcock Park emerged among committee members as the "best place" to host it.
"Between the outdoor pool, band space and kitchen areas in the shelters, Hitchcock has literally everything we needed to make it happen," Sabers said. "It's so awesome to see the city donate so much of the stuff we need as well. They were beyond supportive of us having it here this year."
The event kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, June 18. With the new location, the walking path will stretch through the center of the park along the road and wrap around the v-shaped roundabout. Live music will be played in the band shelter that sits next to the walking path until 10 p.m. Luminaries commemorating those who lost their battle to cancer will be placed in the center of the walking path to have a two-lane route.
Sabers said the foliage and trees throughout the park will also provide some shade. With the 90-plus degree weather Mitchell has been experiencing lately, having shaded areas may be more vital than ever.
After making major adjustments to the Heart and Sole Cancer Walk last year due to the pandemic, which entailed a Main Street vehicle cruise instead of the walk and 5K run, Jessica Skinner, Heart and Sole Committee vice chairwoman, is "beyond thankful" things worked out to bring the traditional setup back this summer.
"It's moving to have the opportunity to make the cancer walk happen this year with all we've been through lately. The pandemic was hard on everyone, but imagine how hard it's been for those who are battling cancer," Skinner said. "The stars aligned for a great cause."
Skinner said being able to host the event in a traditional manner will show the community and those battling cancer that the Mitchell area Heart and Sole organization will always be there to help in a time when people need it most. For this year's cancer walk, the group selected Keara Hohn and Emily Trebil as the honorary co-chairs, which provides them with financial and emotional support in their battle against cancer.
All funds raised stay local, and are distributed by the Heart and Sole organization to area cancer patients who need help with medical expenses.
"Cancer doesn't stop for a pandemic, and neither do we," Skinner said. "We are still having people donate. This event means so much to a lot of people, and I'm just so thankful we're able to have it in such a great new location."
After the cancellation of the Stampede Rodeo in 2020, the cowboy theme cancer walk was tabled until the rodeo came back to Mitchell. Following the announcement of the rodeo making its return this summer, the Cowboy Up theme made its debut.
Capping off the Heart and Sole Cancer Walk with a firework display is planned, but Sabers said the dry conditions could affect the big finale. As of now, the city is not under a burn ban.
"Like everyone who volunteers to make this happen, our fireworks volunteer puts so much effort into making the display amazing. We're crossing our fingers it can happen," Sabers said.