By ALICIA NOTARIANNI
6:55 PM EDT, April 21, 2012
Mary Eno’s short tousled locks of hair wafted in the breeze as she ran across the finish line.
When she pushed unruly strands away from her face, she thought about how thankful she is to have them.
“It’s nice to have hair,” she said. “It’s cold when you are bald. I don’t know how bald guys do it.”
Eno, 56, of Rockville, Md., spent a year without hair while she underwent chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. Now, she is a four-year survivor.
Eno and her husband, Mark LeGrande, joined more than 125 other runners and walkers on Saturday at Hospice of Washington County’s 5K Run/Walk at Martin L. “Marty” Snook Memorial Park.
She ran her first 5K last year as part of a team in support of a co-worker with stage 4 ovarian cancer. Now, Eno and LeGrande try to run at least one 5K a month. She was pleased that Saturday’s event would benefit hospice, which focuses on palliative – or comforting – care in the last several months of life.
“I figure I’ll run until I need them,” she said. “I’m not setting any speed records, but I am beating all the people who never got off the couch this morning.”
Eno said she became familiar with Hospice 30 years ago when her mother was dying of cancer.
“They were fabulous. They came out to the home. She was able to die at home,” Eno said. “Not that anybody’s death is ever easy, but they sure helped us.”
Community Relations Director Shelley Steiner said Saturday’s 5K was the third Hospice of Washington County has hosted and the first scheduled during spring as opposed to fall. Organizers made the change to set the race apart from the busyness of National Hospice Month and in hopes of nicer weather.
“We got a lot of the same people and a lot of new people. This is our largest crowd ever,” she said.
Proceeds from the event, roughly $10,000, will go toward the Frederic H. Kass III M.D. Endowed Scholarship Fund for local students pursuing careers in the health care field. Steiner said Hospice wants to provide opportunities for interested students to become end-of-life care professionals.
“It’s important that we continue to offer a way for patients who want to stay in their homes surrounded by people who love them to do that. We want to make their last days the way they want them to be,” she said.
The 5K ran in conjunction with Racine Multisports Duathlon, which entails running, biking and more running.
Tony and Ashley Hardcastle, both 26, of Hagerstown, ran the 5K in memory of Tony’s grandfather, William Walker, who had stomach cancer. Walker passed away in 2010.
“It’s very nice to have this to remember loved ones,” Ashley Hardcastle said. “Hospice does so much for those who are dying. They need to have these events so people remember how important Hospice is.”
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