Fourth annual Oral Cancer Awareness Walk & Run to be held on April 14

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The fourth annual Oral Cancer Awareness Walk & Run will be held April 14 at Sligo-Dennis Avenue Park. (Photo courtesy of the Hoffman family).

The fourth annual Oral Cancer Awareness Walk & Run in memory of Peter Hoffman will take place on April 14 at the Sligo-Dennis Avenue Park in Silver Spring.

The event is organized by Hoffman’s family, in partnership with the Oral Cancer Foundation during Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and is being held to raise awareness and funds for research of a disease that kills one person every hour in the United States.

In addition to raising money for research, awareness and patient support initiatives, participants will enjoy guest speakers, free screenings by local dentists and hygienists, and following the walk and run, a barbecue lunch and raffle. Registration and pre-race activities will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the run beginning at 9 a.m. and the walk immediately after.

Approximately 51,550 Americans, including a growing population of young adults, will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2018 – a statistic that continues to rise each year. This includes mouth cancer, tongue cancer and throat cancer. When found early, there is an 80 to 90 percent survival rate. However, due to a lack of public awareness, the majority of cases are found as late-stage, fatal cancers.

The Oral Cancer Foundation is a national public service, non-profit entity designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy and patient support activities. Check out oralcancer.org to learn more about risk factors, signs and symptoms, treatments, current research, and related oral cancer news.

Hoffman is remembered by those who knew him for his kind and compassionate nature, his confident moral conviction, his beautiful smile and above all, his deep love of family and friends. A 2007 graduate of George Washington University’s School of Engineering, Hoffman was diagnosed with an aggressive form of oral cancer in August 2008 after discovering an ulcer on his tongue. The cancer had already spread to his lymph nodes and it proved resistant to surgery and treatments. He passed away at 24 years old and just seven months after his diagnosis. It was his hope that others would be able to learn from his death. Therefore, it is his family’s intention that this 5K walk and run will fulfill his wish.

Fundraising efforts are well under way and community members are encouraged to form teams or fundraise individually to aid in the fight. If anyone is interested in starting a fundraising page, visit peterswalkrun.com. For questions about the walk or for media inquiries, call Kaitlin Hoffman Caruso at 571-283-9549 or visit peterswalkrun.com.