The 21st Annual 5K Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness steps off at Tanger Outlets in Riverhead Sept. 22, 2019. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Tanger Outlets and the North Fork Breast Health Coalition are
commemorating Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a “2020 5K
Virtual Race” from Sunday, Oct. 11, to Sunday, Oct. 18.

Participants have the entire week to complete their walk or run on any route, day and time that works for them. Although the format has changed due to COVID-19, the annual NFBHC 5K fundraiser remains based at Tanger Outlets in Riverhead, sponsor of this event for the past two decades.

The registration fee to participate in the “TangerFIT Virtual 5K” is $25, plus a $2.50 sign-up fee.

During the prior week, from October 3-10, registered walkers and runners can visit Shopper Services at Tanger I, Riverhead, to pick up a race packet that contains a race shirt, a mask and hand sanitizer. To register, go to https://www.northforkbreasthealth.org/events. Registration is open now and ends on Oct. 10, 11:59 PM.

After walkers and runners complete their 5K, they should take the opportunity to log their individual results on the registration site. Top finishers in each category will be awarded a medal.

“This is an important fundraiser. The breast cancer community has been hit hard by the effects of COVID-19,” according to Susan Ruffini, president of NFBHC. “Vital surgeries have been postponed, treatments have been reduced or in some cases halted, healing services have been canceled and patients can no longer bring their caretaker with them to appointments.”

“Our organization has also been affected,” Ruffini said. “We have had to halt our massage therapy and reflexology services, move our yoga to an online setting that is inaccessible for some survivors and thrivers, and cancel our annual Pink Pearl Gala that raises critical funds for our grants program. At the same time, we are experiencing an uptick in grant requests and see a need for increased financial aid.”

Founded in 1998 by Ann Cotton-DeGrasse and the late Antonio DeGrasse, the North Fork Breast Health Coalition is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that supports local breast-cancer patients with programs such as Helping Hand grants. For more information about services that the organization provides to breast-cancer patients and survivors who reside in the North Fork area, visit http://www.northforkbreasthealth.org/.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.