OXFORD — Local charity Luna Cares sponsored its annual Trick or Trail 1K and 5K, last Sunday, Oct. 9, benefiting a good cause while bringing a good time.
The only rule for the run held in Oxford’s Community Park: participants had to be in costume. It, of course, was not a serious rule. Many people ran in their Luna Cares Trick or Trail t-shirts. But costumes were encouraged and celebrated.
The 1K event was intended for children 10 and under, but many participated in the 5K with the adults. Many parents chose to push their children in strollers. Some chose to register their dogs. It was a fun event meant for every member of the family – whether they couldn’t walk yet, or even walked on four legs.
The Trick or Trail Run wasn’t just a time for fun – there was an important reason for the event.
Lisa Ciampa founded Luna Cares in 2010 after opening the Oxford boutique Luna Blu. The goal of the charity is “to provide direct support to women with cancer.”
Unlike other charities, Luna Cares does not raise money for research, according to Ciampa.
They raise money for women affected by cancer.
Ciampa’s mother (Sara David Emery) died of Lymphoma at the age of 40 – Ciampa was 17 years old. A Luna Cares pamphlet explains, “While Sara was fortunate enough to have health insurance during her treatment, Lisa and her family realized that the medical bills were only one piece of the puzzle that patients face with a cancer diagnosis. Lost wages, homecare expenses and the cost of items that provide daily comfort to cancer patients are all part of the challenge.”
Luna Cares provides financial support (including medical bills and cost of living), “wellness baskets” (filled with items such as aromatherapy products, prepared foods and personal hygiene products) and wigs and fittings.
This year’s event was sponsored by Pepsi, Kohl’s, The Elm’s Hotel, Hampton Inn, Inloes Heating & Cooling, The Oxford Balloon Company, The Apple Tree, Aveda, The Knolls of Oxford, Oxford Chamber of Commerce, McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital/TriHealth, Luna Blu, Scotty’s BrewHouse, Oxford Copy Shop, LaRosa’s of Oxford, Shanda Gray, Oxford OB/Gyn, Shademakers and Miami University Credit Union. Sponsors sent some of their employees to represent the companies at the run and to support Luna Cares.
Two such individuals were Aimee with Oxford OB/Gyn and her daughter Kendall. They were both dressed up in 80s gear, ready to run the 5K. They both have participated in several runs and they wanted to support Luna Cares.
Other support for Luna Cares came from a sponsor’s employee’s young daughters, Quinn and Jenna Frieden.
Jenna was dressed as Princess Rapunzel and Quinn was dressed as a cheerleader.
Older-sister Quinn did most of the talking for the duo. She explained her mother’s boss paid for some of the candy and when asked, the girls said they wanted to participate. Quinn said it was her first Halloween celebration of the season, and while this was her first 1K, she would consider participating again. “If I like it. I guess we’ll go again if we like it,” she said.
While many participants chose to walk before the run and scope out their route, McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital offered a warm-up session before the 1K.
Chris, Kelly, Aiden, Cierra, Lisa, Steve, and Brayden Beckman all participated in the run because they see it as a noble cause. While the adults of the group all wore tutus and Halloween-themed butterfly wings as their costumes, the children dressed as a dinosaur, ninja, and Princess Belle respectively.
The group explained their motives for joining the 5K: “We just saw there was a local organization that was supporting women with cancer and we thought it was a fun idea.”
The group which stole the show called themselves the “Stitch and Witch Group.” It was comprised of Debbie Albin, Rennie Siebenhar, Debbie Cole, Laura Haskins, and Vicki Shriver. They were, as their name suggests, dressed in witches’ hats.
Siebenhar, wearing her tiny witch’s hat, explained she was in attendance for the second year in a row (as were most of her friends). However, this year was different.
“I came and did last year, but I couldn’t walk very much, because I was still on chemo,” Siebenhar said.
The group agreed, they “think Luna does some really great things.”
“The run benefitted me. They were so super to me – for taking care of me, for going through the emotional hair stuff. I will always support this group,” Siebenhar said.
Allyson Cecil was heavily involved in the planning of the run, and she spoke about Luna Cares. She explained, they started out as an entity under the Community Foundation, but now are their own 501(c)(3).
“It allowed us to give more in specific areas we were interested in, over what the community foundation ruled over,” Cecil said.
This decision allowed them to buy mattresses for women and to pay for their medical accounts.
2011 was the first year for the Luna Cares Trick or Trail. “It started fairly small, but we’ve done it every year since. The big thing we do every year at Trick or Trail is sell pumpkins,” Cecil said.
The pumpkins she referred to are actually called “Pumpkin Accounts.” Luna had pumpkins available with hospital account numbers and price tags on them – prices went as high as $100.
These were women’s actual medical accounts. Participants could purchase a pumpkin and pay for a specific treatment.
The pumpkins were completely anonymous – in fact, the sponsored women only find out when they receive a notice in the mail. Seventeen of the pumpkins were sold last weekend, at a total of $750.
Anyone still interested in purchasing a pumpkin can do so at Luna Blu in Oxford.
The 5K winners included Hilary Davis, Drew Davis, and Lucia Rodbro. The 1K winners were Malachi Dickens, Fletcher Rodbro, and Connor Pulaski.
The 5K concluded with a pizza and costume party. The “Clawson Boys” won the men’s best costume, Jackie and Dana Lohrev won women’s best costume, and The Boo Crew won best team costume.
A preliminary total of $10,000-plus was raised at this year’s Trick or Trail Run.
To qualify for support from Luna Cares, women simply have to reside in the 45056 zip-code and/or received cancer treatment at McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital. Patients can apply for assistance online, in-person, by calling 513-461-4139, or by sending an application via mail.