Community Steps Up

Race to Beat Breast Cancer Gets Title Co-Sponsors

When facing a major medical challenge, you can either move away from or toward the path to recovery.

Dick Myers Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat and F&M Bank add a third option: They run for it.

The Harrisonburg dealership and Timberville-based community bank are title co-sponsors of this year’s Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Race to Beat Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk, which will be held Saturday, Oct. 19, at Westover Park in Harrisonburg.

All proceeds benefit the RMH Foundation, which supports Sentara RMH Medical Center and enhances its mission to improve health and promote well-being. Now in its 17th year, the Race to Beat Breast Cancer provides the Foundation with funding to provide uninsured women in the community with opportunities to receive free mammography screening.

“We feel strongly about giving back to the communities we serve, and Sentara RMH is right in the heart of our footprint,” says Mark Hanna, F&M Bank president. “We’ve supported Sentara as an organization for many years, and we jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the Race to Beat Breast Cancer—it’s a mission that’s near and dear to our hearts.”

The same attitude applies at Dick Myers Automotive. Giving back by sponsoring the Race to Beat Breast Cancer made perfect sense, especially given the strength exhibited by Suzy Anthony, the dealership’s marketing director, during her recent cancer battle. Anthony has now been cancer-free for five years.

“Early detection is very important to me,” Anthony says. “Whatever we can do—whether it’s getting PSAs on the radio or scheduling the mobile mammography van here—we’re very passionate about early detection, and sponsoring this race is a good fit for us. We’re really excited about the partnership.”

Hundreds Race to Benefit Others

Last year’s Race to Beat Breast Cancer brought out nearly 700 participants, and this year’s goal is to break the 1,000-participant mark, according to Erik Dart, athletics and special events manager for Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation. Funds raised by the 2018 event amounted to more than $15,000, he says.

“Most women without insurance don’t schedule routine screening exams due to cost,” says Tami Eppard, manager of mammography at Funkhouser Women’s Center. “But through these funds we’re able to offer this service at the Sentara Funkhouser Women’s Center and our mobile mammography van locations.”

In 2018, the RMH Foundation funded $41,454 worth of free mammograms to 280 women without health insurance, according to Cory Davies, the Foundation’s executive director. The funding provided through the Race to Beat Breast Cancer was a critical part of making that possible, he says.

One way to attract more participants and donations to the event is through the race raffle, which is now in its second year. All participants receive two raffle tickets in their race packets, says Janet Wendelken, senior development consultant for the RMH Foundation. And groups and individuals who bring in donations of at least $100 will receive 10 additional tickets for the raffle. About 40 raffle prizes will be given, ranging from jewelry and clothing to stuffed animals, children’s books and lots of gift certificates.

“Regardless of their ability to pay, women need to have screening mammograms,” says Wendelken. “Finding breast cancer in its early stages through mammography leads to better outcomes, and the race registrations and raffle donations help pay for those mammograms.”

Everybody Wins

Although Anthony and Hanna themselves will be unable to run in the October race due to physical issues, both businesses will be well represented by employee participants. By serving as title co-sponsors, the two companies have proven to be strong advocates for the cause.

“Everyone who is able should participate in the race,” Anthony says. “Whether it’s a family member, friend or neighbor, almost everyone is going to be affected by breast cancer at some point. This is a fun event, too.”

For Anthony, cancer was not a simple challenge to overcome. But after 20 treatments, she completed her journey to beat the disease, with staff from Sentara RMH and Dick Myers alongside her the entire time.

“It’s all in how you look at things,” she says. “You have to show strength and faith. A lot of it I had to turn over to God. My faith and the people He placed in my path are what I’m really thankful for. These guys at the dealership have been very patient and understanding.”

According to Hanna, F&M has lost employees to cancer over the years, and some of his current co-workers continue to battle the disease. Employees are active with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. With that in mind, extending charitable efforts to the Race to Beat Breast Cancer seemed like a great fit for the bank. In fact, community members may be seeing F&M’s name associated with more charitable events in the near future.

After a recent review of what the bank’s core values should entail, Hanna says community involvement was a clear No. 1.

“Being good corporate citizens is important to us, both at the corporate and individual levels,” he says. “It’s something we take very seriously.”

2019 Race Snapshot

What:Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Race to Beat Breast Cancer 5K Run/Walk, presented by Dick Myers Automotive and F&M Bank

When: Saturday, Oct. 19; opening ceremony at 9 a.m., race at 9:30 a.m.

Where: Westover Park, Harrisonburg

How to Register: Online at

•          Individual early registration fee: $20 until Oct. 11

•          Individual late registration fee: $25 Oct. 12-19

•          Team registration fee: $15 per individual (must have a minimum of five team members)

•          T-shirt order will be placed on Oct. 4; register before then to guarantee size availability.

Can’t make the event?There is a Virtual Race option this year, which allows you to register and receive everything a normal participant would get, and then run the route on your own schedule.

Can’t participate, but want to donate? Donations are accepted online through the registration site.