LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As the Las Vegas community marks five years since 1 October, the community will also take part in the fifth annual Vegas Strong 5K.
Just seven weeks after the 1 October shooting, the first Vegas Strong 5K hit the pavement and raised money for those still reeling with pain and loss.
Now five years strong the event has become an annual reunion.
Las Vegas resident and 5K organizer Cynthia Ganey uses her running event company Just Run to bring thousands of people together each year to run and walk the road to healing.
“People want to be here, they want to come together and remember,” she told 8 News Now.
This year, those who have registered are from across the country, Canada, and as far away as Europe.
“People kept saying we want this to continue every year, every year, and I said, I will continue to put it on as long as people want it,” Ganey added.
All proceeds from the 5K go towards victims’ funds and scholarship programs for Las Vegas students such as Maggie Louie, now a junior at UNLV.
“I think it’s just part of your own passion to like save people,” Louie said.
She is studying to become a doctor and told 8 News Now her scholarship alleviates a lot of the financial burden for her to become a first responder so she can be part of a positive change.
“You see that more people are caring about each other in a way that’s like you don’t have to be related to them to like ask them, ‘How are you doing, are you okay?’ and I think the community is more united in that way,” she added.
Kirsten Searer is president of the Public Education Foundation which awards various scholarships funded since the 2017 tragedy.
“We see these scholarships – in combination with all the other services happening in our community – as one of the ways we can come together and heal and remember what happened on 1 October,” she said.
She said events like the Vegas Strong 5K help empower young people to build a stronger community and never forget.
“Certainly we’re seeing that in the essays from our students – they’re still feeling this,” she added. “It hasn’t gone away and it probably shouldn’t go away. We need to remember it, we need to continue to talk about it and recover together.”
To date, the Vegas Strong 5K has raised about a quarter of a million dollars for victims’ funds and scholarships, but more is needed.
If you’d like to help you can donate directly to the Public Education Foundation’s website.
For more information on how to register for the Vegas Strong 5K run, click HERE.