Each February since 2014, Shelley Blevins spends a cold morning in Fort Mill, SC cheering on runners who come out to “Run for Jerm.” Jerm, the nickname given to Shelley’s late husband Jeremy Blevins, was an active and healthy family man when he was diagnosed with oral cancer at age 41. Tragically, Jeremy’s battle ended seven months after his diagnosis. Wanting to honor her husband and raise awareness of oral cancer in the Charlotte-area, Shelley started the Jeremy B. Blevins Oral Cancer Fund, which hosts an annual Race for the Cause 5K to raise funds and promote awareness of the devastating disease. “My goal is to spread awareness and hopefully prevent other families from experiencing the pain of this disease,” says Shelley.

Race day brings excitement, energy and a sense of community for the runners and walkers who participate. Family, friends and even strangers come together to run, volunteer, and fundraise in support of the Jeremy B. Blevins Oral Cancer Fund. “The support is overwhelming,” Shelley notes, “you can’t help but smile.”

For some, the annual 5K has been life-changing. Chris, who has attended the race every year since its inception, came to the inaugural Race for the Cause 5K as a tobacco-user. He struggled for years to quit, attending the race every year and receiving free oral cancer screenings. After six years, he has quit smoking and is now an outspoken advocate for oral cancer awareness, even sharing his story at the 2018 Race for the Cause. “We are raising awareness right here in our community… it’s a great feeling to carry on Jeremy’s legacy and make a difference in others’ lives,” says Shelley.

Free oral cancer screenings are provided at the event by Mark Geary of Murdoch and Geary Dental in an effort to help runners and supporters keep their oral health in the forefront of their minds. The 6th Annual Race for the Cause 5K, supporting the Jeremy B. Blevins Oral Cancer Fund, is on February 2, 2019. Tickets are available online until midnight on January 31 and can be purchased in-person at Fleet Feet in Fort Mill, SC beginning at 7:30 am on February 2, 2019. Use this link to purchase tickets online.