WHEELING - To honor his sister's memory each year, Ron Green puts on the ''Race for a Reason,'' with proceeds helping local children and adults battling the same disease that took her life in 1972 - leukemia.
Debbie Green was just 7 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer in 1970. After two years of battling leukemia Debbie passed away. Before her passing, friends of the Benwood family organized a benefit show titled ''Debbie Green Day.''
Green's race, the Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run/Walk for Leukemia, is now in its 17th year, helping keep his sister's memory alive and helping those in need.
Runners, both young and old, take off from the start line during the Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run and Walk for Leukemia.
This year's 5K Run/Walk is slated for 7 p.m. Saturday at Wheeling Heritage Port. Other events at the port include the Green Mile at 7 p.m. tonight and Debbie's Dash at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Green noted it is unfair that his sister's life was cut short, but with the race he feels as though something positive has finally come from her passing.
''Finally good has come out of her death. ... She was such a sweet little girl,'' Green said. ''Something good should have happened to her and now it is. This race is special to a lot of people.''
Recipients of race proceeds typically are announced the day of the race.
The first 1,200 registered participants will receive an official soft Dry-Fit race T-shirt; and official 5K medallion; music every mile; a post-race pasta dinner and refreshments; ChampionChip timing; an opportunity to win numerous door prizes; and packet coupons.
The grand door prize is seven nights at the Sea Watch Oceanfront Resort in Myrtle Beach
Additional door prizes include a one-year membership to CentreTown Fitness; weekend golf package at Seven Springs Mountain Resort; $300 set of new tires from American Tire; a weekend getaway to Station Square Sheraton, Pittsburgh; Kennywood tickets; and gift certificates to TJ's Sports Garden and Hole 'N Run.