Event benefits Carson Advocates for Cancer Care | NevadaAppeal.com

Event benefits Carson Advocates for Cancer Care

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Hellcraft performs before the beginning of the seventh annual Nevada Department of Corrections Walkathon for cancer care at the Northern Nevada Correctional center on Sunday. The band, from left, is John Davies, guitar; Russell Letsinger, vocals; Michael McInerney, drums; and William Manciano, bass.

Sean Kennedy spent his Sunday morning walking in circles. He paid to be able to stroll around the baseball field counterclockwise until he hit three miles.

Kennedy said that while he enjoyed the exercise, that wasn’t his reason for walking. He did it for his dad.

“My dad died of cancer, and it was a hardship on the family,” Kennedy said. “I’m hoping the money I donated will go to help save someone’s life.”

Kennedy was one of 250 inmates at Northern Nevada Correctional Center who took part in the seventh annual Nevada Department of Corrections walkathon for cancer care.

The local event, also held at five other NDOC facilities, has generated more than $90,000 for Carson Advocates for Cancer Care. The inmates, family members and staff of the prisons make donations and sponsor participants. The NDOC prisons have been recognized as the only men’s prisons to raise funds for breast cancer awareness.

The CACC provides financial support for medical treatment, housing and transportation for cancer patients.

“What these inmates do is not only generous but critical to what we are able to do,” said Pat Williams, CACC Board of Directors president.

The fundraiser is especially helpful this year because the group’s allocation from the state tobacco fund, a major source of funding, was cut in half.

“It means reducing the number of patients we can help and the amount of money we can provide to them,” Williams said. “This is very important to us because the CACC uses every dime for patient care.”

This year’s walkathon was done in honor of Carol Spell, a former employee at NNCC who retired Jan. 1 and died of lung cancer on June 18.

“This is a positive event and a fundraiser that benefits the community,” said Jim Benedetti, associate warden.

During the walk, inmates received water, juice and muffins while listening to the music of five bands made up of their fellow inmates, including heavy-metal band Hellcraft.

After the event, the inmates were treated to a barbecue on the grounds.

Inmate Glen McGinnis, who helped organize the event, said the biggest challenge isn’t the organization of the event, it’s getting the inmates to understand the reason for it.

“Trying to get people to see that it’s a good cause and not just a chance for a muffin or a T-shirt,” McGinnis said.

“I do it because I enjoy seeing people smile, and through the years I have learned I enjoy helping others.”

Kennedy was among those who didn’t need to be convinced of the reason for the walk.

“I have the money, and I feel blessed to be able to share it and do some good,” he said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.