Drew’s Crew runners showered with colors
NEW ULM — Participants of Drew’s Crew 5k Colorfest Run/Walk were treated to cool morning temperatures Saturday — and a shower of colors.
Saturday’s walk/run marks the fifth year of the event that helps raise funds for Drew Aufderheide, who was diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) several years ago.
CML is a cancer caused by a chromosomal change that predominantly affects people in their late 60s. Aufderheide’s medication costs are thousands of dollars a month and medical insurance pays only a portion of that.
The funds raised from the event help pay for Aufderheide’s chemotherapy medication that he takes daily to keep the disease at bay.
Despite his condition, Aufderheide’s spirit is high, and he said he keeps a positive outlook on life.
“That’s the truth,” he said. “To put on smile on your face every day when you feel awful, when your hands don’t seem to want to work well, and you have a myriad of issues chemotherapy puts you through.”
Before the run/walk kicked off, Aufderheide updated participants and volunteers of his condition. He said he still suffers from debilitating symptoms from treatment, but he won’t let it stop him from living his life to the fullest.
“Just keep pushing on every day,” Aufderheide said. “That’s my reality every day.”
Following his short speech, Aufderheide walked to the 5k starting line and flung colored powder high into the air, as did others, to signal the start of the event.
While he wasn’t able to participate in the event as a runner/walker, Aufderheide still made an effort to visit multiple color stations along the route to cheer others on — and even get doused with colored powder himself.
In his speech before the event, Aufderheide paused a moment to collect his emotions.
“This doesn’t get any easier,” he said. “You stand up here and tell everyone how your life is going and it’s still kind of an emotional thing.”
Aufderheide thanked his family, volunteers, donors and his wife for seeing him through the toughest parts of his illness.
For more information visit drewscrew.org.
Gage Cureton can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.