Public invited to ‘Pray Big’ at fun run

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Roscoe resident Patty Pann (left) smiles as she takes a picture of her signature on a Pink Heals car dedicated in her name during a ceremony at her home. Pann, a former police officer, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in August 2013. Pink Heals Winnebago County, a nonprofit organization that helps women fighting cancer, found the pink squad car to be the perfect way to honor her. The organization also has a pink fire truck and motorcycle. At the dedication ceremony were event organizers, motorcycle club members, a bagpipe player, many friends and neighbors, Pann's husband Doug and daughters Hannah and Kelsey.

ROSCOE — Patty, a bright pink police car, may now be spotted at the homes of those being helped through Pink Heals of Winnebago County.

A group of dedicated friends now hopes to help Patty Pann, the woman behind the car’s honorary name, by hosting a 5K and 2K walk Nov. 15.

“I met Patty about three years ago and she is such an honest, giving person,” said event co-organizer Dawn Mosher.

Pann, of Roscoe, a wife and mother of two teenage daughters, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in August of 2013.

The news came as quite a shock, as Pann has no family history of lung cancer and has never been a smoker.

“Once we found out I wondered ‘how can it be Stage IV?’ I didn’t have any signs until then,” Pann told the Beloit Daily News.

By the time a diagnosis was made, Pann’s cancer had spread to her ribs, spine, sternum and 14 tumors were found in her brain.

“We decided to go to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and I started a clinical trial about a month ago,” Pann said.

The Pray Big 5K run and 2K walk will serve as a fundraiser for the Pann family to help ease the financial and emotional stress thrust upon them.

Ten percent of the funds raised also will go to Pink Heals, an organization that supports those undergoing cancer treatment.

“Karen Anderson (event co-organizer) had the idea to host a 5K so we can show Patty that she is very important to us,” Mosher said.

The day’s events will kick off at 9 a.m. on the Rock Valley College campus, 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford.

The race entry fee is $35 and payment or donations for Pann can be made via PayPal by visiting www.praybig5k.com.

T-shirts will be distributed on a limited basis, and day-of-race registration will be accepted with cash payment. Donations for race ‘swag bags’ are still needed.

“The run and walk will take place on a paved path through the campus so it is protected and nobody needs to go on the street,” Mosher said.

Runners and walkers of all ages are encouraged to attend the event, which will be a “fun run” with a self-timed option.

“Pray Big is great because it is helping a local family and also Pink Heals,” Mosher said. “It makes for a unique opportunity to give back.”

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