Join Us as We Race to Beat Cancer! | MedStar Health

Join Us as We Race to Beat Cancer!

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Forty years ago, Terry Fox ran his historic Marathon of Hope, covering over 3,000 miles across Canada. For 143 days and despite a partial leg amputation, he ran along highways, through towns and in pouring rain, raising awareness and funds to fight against his bone cancer. Over time, he inspired thousands of runners around the world to follow his journey as warriors in an even bigger battle—the fight against cancer in all its forms.

Here in the Washington, D.C. area, Terry’s legacy lives on through the annual Race to Beat Cancer. Partnering with the Four Seasons Hotel, Washington D.C., MedStar Washington Hospital Center has proudly participated in the Race to Beat Cancer for the past two decades. Over that time, the nearly $1.7 million raised by our participants has gone to support critical research efforts at our Cancer Institute.

Last year alone, the Race to Beat Cancer raised over half a million dollars and attracted nearly 800 participants.

This year, due to COVID-19, the Race to Beat Cancer goes virtual to keep participants safe. This allows us to provide new distance options appealing to an even broader range of runners and walkers. Besides our traditional 5k format, runners and walkers can now choose to complete a 10k or a one-mile option as well!

Before we get into some race details, let’s cover some of the crucial work that race funds make possible.

Harvey cheering on a young racer at the 2019 Race to Beat Cancer.
This photo was taken prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sobering Facts

It’s an unfortunate fact that Washington, D.C. has one of the highest cancer incidents and mortality rates in the United States. According to Dr. Christopher Gallagher, Medical Director of Cancer Services at the Hospital Center, as D.C.’s largest outpatient cancer center, we treat the most cancer cases in the region. Each year, we diagnose and treat over 2000 people with new cancer and manage more than 80,000 outpatient visits for cancer screening, cancer treatments, and cancer survivorship care. In addition, we enroll several hundred patients in a cancer research trial.

With so much essential and ground-breaking work to be done, the Race to Beat Cancer has become a very significant lifeline to raise much-needed funds to support our cancer research.

Currently, there are about 40 clinical trials open and underway that focus on investigating new and better treatments for many different cancer types.

As an important point of emphasis, about 70% of the patients enrolled in our trials come from our minority populations. Approximately 18% of black women with newly diagnosed breast cancer are enrolled in a therapeutic clinical trial, many times higher than the national average and the leaders in the greater D.C. region for this type of work.

Quite frankly, minority populations tend to be underrepresented in general by traditional cancer research efforts. It’s important that the community understands the unique work we’re doing at the Hospital Center, emphasizing cutting-edge and next-generation care that serves our prime demographic here in the greater D.C. region.

In this time of heightened social awareness, we are proud to be a national model and leader in offering innovative cancer care to minority patients.

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is proud to be a national leader and model for minority cancer care. Join our virtual Race to Beat Cancer and help support the cause! #BeatCancer @MedStarWHC @harveyg3

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While funds raised by our annual race primarily support cancer research, we are supporting an additional cause this year that will resonate with everyone: a convalescent plasma research program for COVID-19 patients. Our physician investigators are major contributors to one of the largest convalescent plasma programs in the country, studying the use of plasma antibodies from dozens of recovered COVID-19 patient donors to treat our most vulnerable and severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Read more about the causes supported by the race and your fundraising efforts.

Details on Our New Virtual Race

Now, let’s get to some race details!

This year’s entirely virtual Race to Beat Cancer is open for registration now! You can complete your run or walk at any time during race week September 26–October 3.

Enjoy teaming with others? Virtual team participation is highly encouraged. Teams have already started forming, and of course, we have a team led annually by Dr. Gallagher!

Once registered, you will receive instructions on apps available to track your times and how to input this information into the website. Leading fundraisers will receive prizes, and top-placing runners will receive cash awards. Have fun with social media to promote the race. Tag @racetobeatcancer5K on Instagram and like us on Facebook at Race to Beat Cancer and use the hashtag #MyRace2BeatCancer.

To register or learn more, please visit:

Racing’s not your thing? You can help the cause in a number of other ways. Make a tax-deductible contribution by visiting and clicking the Donate tab. Or email and become a sponsor!

On Your Mark, Get Set…

As one of the largest hospitals in this area, MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a strong reach across the region. Several local philanthropists and sponsors of the Hospital Center wholeheartedly support the Race to Beat Cancer, and many provide fund-matching as well. And of course, our Hospital Center family enthusiastically participates in race activities and fund-raising every year.

Ready to help us beat cancer? Lace up those sneakers, and let’s go!


Join us virtually for the Race to Beat Cancer!

Register today!

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