Employees, Businesses Rally Around Jodi's Race for Awareness
The nation's second largest ovarian cancer walk takes place June 9 at City Park
For three years, Luci Berardi's coworkers at Altura Periodontics have supported her and Jodi's Race for Awareness, an event that raises funds for the Colorado Ovarian Cancer Alliance (COCA), which will take place Saturday, June 9 at Denver's City Park.
Berardi, Altura's practice manager and chief financial officer has been with the company for 24 years.
"It's quite emotional because this is my second family," she says. "For everyone from the doctors, staff and their families to come together and show support is so huge, so real."
Jodi’s Race for Awareness was started in 2010 by Jodi Brammeier, a young wife and mother who believed her cancer would have been discovered earlier if she had known the symptoms of ovarian cancer. Jodi’s Race has raised more than $1.25 million to educate and assist Colorado women. The race has grown in the years since it started, with more than 3,200 supporters expected to participate June 9.
Berardi was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in October 2010, and she learned of COCA and its mission – to provide support to those affected by ovarian cancer and promote awareness and early detection of ovarian cancer through advocacy and education – when she found a brochure at her gynecologic oncologist's office. She began participating in Nikki's Circle support groups.
For the 2012 and 2013 Race for Awareness, Berardi and her husband were volunteers. She was unable to attend the 2014 event due to a recurrence of her ovarian cancer, but Team Altura has come out in full force with her annually since 2015 and will be again this year. They even designed and wear special t-shirts.
For nine years, Applewood Plumbing Heating and Electric has been a Jodi’s Race for Awareness sponsor, in part to support employee Tyler Dean and his mother, Sue Abbott, who is an ovarian cancer survivor. In 2017, the employees came together to form a corporate team.
According to Kelly Schreffler, the company’s marketing coordinator, Applewood’s 2017 team had 15 members and she believes the team will be twice that size this year. The company’s owners actively encourage widespread participation by paying the registration fee for employees and their guest.
“We’re really trying to up our wellness program,” Schreffler explained, “so doing Jodi’s Race is a win-win. We are supporting Tyler and his family while encouraging our employees to get out and be active.”
For Schreffler, who has been at Applewood for six years, the 2017 Jodi’s Race for Awareness was her first 5K. Asked what she enjoyed most about the experience, she replied, “I think for me it was just a sense of community support. It becomes more personal. It was definitely eye opening for a lot of us.”