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5K won't be held as originally planned, but organizer will set up 'virtual' race so people can run or walk individually

PMG PHOTO: SCOTT KEITH - Ashley Desanno, race director, is organizing the virtual King City Kicks Cancer 5K Run/Walk.King City resident Ashley Desanno, an avid runner and dedicated supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, has been burning the midnight oil recently, setting up a King City Kicks Cancer 5K Run/Walk.

Her original plans were to hold the race April 25 at King City Community Park. With a hoped for registration of between 150 and 200 people, plans were dashed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The idea behind the cancellation is to keep the citizenry of King City healthy.

Instead, Desanno, the race director, has transformed the event into a "virtual" race where participants can run at their convenience (selecting their favorite location) and report the results online.

According to Desanno, anyone around the world can run the 5K (3 miles) on April 25. You can register on the race website. The registration fee is $25.

When you register, instructions are sent to you on how to submit your time. As was originally planned, all racers will receive race T-shirts.

You can donate money to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on Desanno's website. You can reach Desanno for more details at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Desanno, who has been nominated for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year, was inspired to put on a race in part because of leukemia and lymphoma cases in her family.

"My grandfather died when I was 8 of chronic lymphocytic leukemia," she said. "That was just too young, and it was the first time I remember seeing my dad cry (at her grandfather's funeral). It just made a huge impact on me."

Desanno also noted her husband's uncle, who worked for Portland Fire & Rescue, had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"We've both been personally touched by it," Desanno said.

Aside from the virtual race, Desanno is quite busy raising money for the leukemia cause. For the window of time from March 7 through May 16, Desanno hopes to raise $50,000.

"My focus is on pediatric leukemia and lymphoma," she said. "I have a friend whose son passed away when he was 4. She said the hardest part was that the treatment options were so limited that once the treatment options were gone, they were gone — as a mom, it's so impossibly hard for me to think about."

Desanno noted, however, that improvements are being made in research and treatment of leukemia and lymphoma.

King City Councilor Jaimie Fender is proud of the work Desanno has accomplished in helping the leukemia and lymphoma cause.

"I am very proud that Desanno has been nominated as a candidate for Woman of the Year," Fender said. "As soon as Ashley accepted her nomination, she hit the ground running, which is fitting since Ashley can often be seen running through King City training for a marathon. Ashley is a dynamic asset to the city."

Fender continued, "She is raising awareness of and funds for pediatric cancer, which sadly has affected our King City community. I am very proud to support her fundraising efforts for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and I hope all of King City will join in to help her earn the Woman of the Year title."

Fender said it's unfortunate there will not be a 5K run at King City Community Park later in April.

"Ashley's postponement of the event reflects how much she cares about our community," Fender said.

Desanno is hopeful she can schedule another 5K run in King City. The 3-mile race will show off the attributes of King City.

"What better way to raise money than to throw a 5K, because it puts my passions together, helping people and running," Desanno said. "If I can bring a spotlight to our community — why wouldn't I use this platform to show off our beautiful city?"


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