Waco racers don stilettos to raise breast cancer awareness

By Bre Nichols

Racers in stilettos will dash through Downtown Waco this Saturday for a fundraising event to raise awareness about breast cancer.

The first annual Stiletto Stampede for the Cure Waco is a 100-yard dash ­— in which racers sport high heels — that will be held at 10 a.m. at Heritage Square in Downtown Waco.

Stiletto Stampede for the Cure is a nonprofit organization in Austin. Their mission is “to raise breast cancer awareness among young women and men and empower them to become advocates for their health through fun events and unique programs,” according to the organization’s official website.

Proceeds from the stampede will go to support various breast cancer awareness and education efforts, such as nonprofit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, as well as a post-operative rehabilitation program in Austin developed by the Stiletto Stampede organization last year.

Jenny Sparks, a volunteer and member on the committee for the Stiletto Stampede organization, has been working with the event since it began four years ago.

“This event isn’t just for women but for anyone who wants to be silly and have fun,” Sparks said. “We have tons of men and children also signed up, and you don’t have to run; you can walk, skip, cartwheel— we don’t care. Put on heels and get into it!”

The morning will begin with a Zumba dance warm-up, Sparks said, after which participants will hear speakers share testimonies and give advice about being healthfully aware of your body.

The event is organized for participants, Sparks said, so survivors, men, women and children can compete respectively in groups.

One group will make the dash with their dogs— the “Pooch Scooch”— in which participants are encouraged to dress up their dogs to race with them.

Sparks said prizes have been donated from local sponsors for race winners, as well as for other categories such as “Best Dressed Dog.”

Conway, Ark., senior Caroline Levan will be participating in the Pooch Scooch with her Shih Tzu named Cash.

“We’re going to get dressed-up and get really into it,” Levan said.

Levan said she has also participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure since her freshman year at Baylor.

“This is a cause that is very important to me, so I’m excited for another event where I can go out and have fun while supporting the Susan G. Komen foundation,” Levan said.

In addition to the Stiletto Stampede, Sparks said the organization will host a pre-race party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday at the Hotel Indigo in Waco.

“[It] is just an excuse to put on your heels and hang out in a cool hotel, grab some $5 appetizers and learn about breast cancer in a fun environment,” Sparks said.

Participants can register for the Stiletto Stampede up until the morning of the race.

The entry fee is $35 and includes “a race tank and a goodie bag stuffed with treasures,” according to the organization’s official website. For more information visit www.stilettostampede.org.