Local nonprofit the Pink Elephant Movement, which works to raise awareness around Philadelphia’s opioid crisis, is bringing its 5K back to Fishtown after a successful run last fall.
Co-founder and Fishtown native Reenie Dugan, a former addict herself, says that she initially started the Pink Elephant Movement with some folks from her neighborhood to help people fighting addiction. But after seeing a big turnout last year from families needing support, the group decided to make it more of an event for those affected by the epidemic—mostly those people raising kids who were left orphaned as a result of their parent’s addiction. “There’s nothing like this for families and kids,” Dugan says. ”We want to make a real difference for them.”
And so far they have. After last year’s run, which brought out 500-plus people to run, walk and volunteer, Dugan says the organization has been able to donate money to 10 families over the holidays, help out with tuition for five local high school and elementary students and pitch in to help struggling families pay utility bills and mortgages.
This year, Dugan expects the number of Pink Elephant 5K participants to double, which is fitting in a city that has seen a 33 percent increase in opioid-related deaths since last year. A lot of those, she says, happened in her neighborhood, which is why they’ve chosen to hold the 5K there. “So much of the epidemic is happening where we live—in Kensington, Fishtown, Port Richmond,” she says. “So why not run in the streets where it’s going on and maybe inspire people who see what we’re doing—to let them see that there’s a whole community behind them.”
Early registration for this year’s race is now open. Participants can sign up to compete in a 5K run or a one-mile walk for the early-bird rate of $25 (plus fees), or take part for free in a fun run/walk. After early registration, the price jumps to $35 and those who wait to sign up on race day will pay $40.
The Pink Elephant takes place on October 7 at 10am. The race begins and ends at Cione Playground, with a route that takes them around Fishtown and Kensington. For more information and to sign up for the race, go here.