PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Thousands took part in a Father’s Day tradition along the Ben Franklin Parkway on Sunday morning — the annual Gary Papa Run.
The Gary Papa Father’s Day Run is largest fundraiser of the year for the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health (FBPH).
“One in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and early detection is the key to survival,” explained FBPH Executive Director Colleen Daley.
The organization’s goal was to raise $250,000 at this year’s run and Daley said they exceeded that, bringing in more than $300,000. She said the money raised goes towards several prostate cancer initiatives.
“We co-partner with hospitals to run educational seminars and events for men,” she said. “We also give grant money to area hospitals for their prostate initiatives which means free screenings for men in the Delaware Valley.”
This year’s Gary Papa Run took place on the 7th anniversary of the sportscaster’s death from prostate cancer.
It’s the same disease that took the life of Fred Allan of Yardley, Pennsylvania. His daughter Jeanie was among those taking part.
“Unfortunately he lost his battle four years ago,” she said. “It’s bitter-sweet. We really miss him, but it’s nice to come together.”
Eddie Radden from Gloucester Township, New Jersey knows the fight well. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011. Today, he is cancer free and was celebrating Father’s Day with his daughter, who just graduated from Penn State. Radden said his mission is clear.
“To tell every man who I see or every man who I know to make sure you get yourself checked,” he said.
Radden said he can’t thank his family enough for their support.
They supported me 100 percent in what I was going through,” he said. “That makes it a lot easier on you when you do have the support of your family and friends.”
The Watson family from Mt. Laurel always take part in the Gary Papa Run. Jack ran with his dad in the event for the first time, a great father-son experience before he starts college at Syracuse University.
“I’m getting as much time in with my dad as I possibly can,” he said, “and this is just a great way to spend time with my father.”
And John, who was looking forward to running with his son on such a beautiful morning, also had a purpose of the event on his mind. Boosting awareness that men have to go see their doctors.
“Men don’t typically do that,” he said, “but it’s really important to catch diseases like prostate cancer really early on.