Ron Green said 1,775 people already are signed up to participate in today's and Saturday's Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run/Walk for Leukemia events.
The annual race held at Wheeling Heritage Port is named after Green's sister, who died after battling the disease as a child in 1972. Dubbed the Race for a Reason, it honors Debbie's memory and helps others battling the disease. Race proceeds are given to local children fighting leukemia.
This year's recipients are McMechen resident and Bishop Donahue freshman Dalton Goddard, who is the son of Mary and John Goddard; Hundred resident Krista Peraldo, 9, who is the daughter of Stephanie and John Peraldo; and St. Clairsville resident Jacob Bednarski, 6, who is the son of Allen and Vandana Bednarski.
Photo by Shelley Hanson/Debbie Green Race Director Ron Green, center, is surrounded Thursday by his littlest helpers, clockwise, from left, son Joseph Green, 9; Michael Peraldo, 6; race proceeds recipient Jacob Bednarski, 6; son Michael Green, 6; and race proceeds recipient Krista Peraldo, 9. Recipient Dalton Goddard was unavailable for the photo.
While setting up tents at Heritage Port on Thursday evening, Green said 275 people were registered for the Green Mile, slated for 7 p.m. today; 200 children were signed up for Debbie's Dash, slated for 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1,300 people were signed up for the 5K run, set for 7 p.m. Saturday.
"We are here to put on the best race we can. The runners, the walkers - without them there is no race. We want to treat them good and everything else will fall into place," Green said.
Green believes the Debbie Green race creates an atmosphere that makes runners and walkers feel good about participating because the money helps children with cancer.
"There is happiness, sorrow - it's all here. We're all winners," he said.