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Drew’s Crew runners showered with colors

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Drew’s Crew 5k Colorfest Run participants celebrate at the starting line after being doused with the first round of color powder at Harmon Park Saturday.

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.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Blue-colored powder wafts off a woman as she exits a color station along the 5k Colorfest Run route Saturday.

“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.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Drew Aufderheide speaks to participants of the Drew’s Crew 5K Colorfest Run before the event kicks off at Harman Park Saturday. Aufderheide, who was diagnosed with an incurable form of Leukemia years ago, said his spirit remains high. “Just keep pushing on every day,” he said. “That’s my reality every day.” The event benefits Aufderheide’s medical and pharmaceutical expenses as he receives treatment for his illness.

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 gcureton@nujournal.com.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton A woman runs through a cloud of orange dust at the finish line of the Drew’s Crew 5k Colorfest Run Harman Park Saturday.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton A man runs through a cloud of blue powder at one of four color stations along the 5k Colorfest Run route Saturday.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton A woman is doused with colored-powder at one of four color stations along the Colorfest 5k route Saturday.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Participants of the Drew’s Crew 5k Colorfest Run throw colored powder in the air following the end of the run/walk at Harman Park Saturday.

Staff photos by Gage Cureton Ava Peterson, 11, a volunteer for Drew’s Crew 5k Colorfest Run, displays a devious smile after dousing participants with yellow powder Saturday.

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