Lifting Others Through Support of the William R. Bliss Cancer Center
It was a very personal experience with cancer that motivates Jennifer and Mark Smith’s support of the William R. Bliss Cancer Center. Jennifer’s sister-in-law, Jessica Clem, fought a courageous battle with cancer before passing at just 39 years old in 2012. Jessica was an inspiration to all who followed her battle, and the care she received at the Bliss Cancer Center still provides comfort to Jennifer, Mark and the rest of Jessica’s family.
“We began fundraising when Jessica was still alive and we were able to establish an endowment at the cancer center for breast cancer patients,” Jennifer says. “Since then, we have continued to branch out in our fundraising efforts. We have been touched personally by many people in our community still battling cancer. We are blessed to have such a wonderful care option available to them locally. The connection we have to Bliss through Jessica, through our friends at the gym who have received care, and through those in the community we know—all of it drives us to support such a wonderful service.”
As owners of The ARENA—a gym located just south of Highway 30 in Nevada—Jennifer and Mark are committed to using their business to support those in need throughout the community. The couple is so focused on serving Story County, they regularly host fundraisers that offer a combination of fitness and fun to benefit a variety of services and organizations.
Their latest fundraiser is called the 5K BENCH ‘N’ BOLT for Bliss. Hosted in partnership with the Runners United Nevada (RUN) group, the event includes a 5K run/walk with an added bench press element. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Bliss Cancer Center.
“This is the first time we’ve ever done a 5K fundraiser,” Jennifer says. “We’ve put our own little spin on it, and we are hoping we draw a bit different demographic and possibly more community members.”
In recent years, a handful of ARENA members have had personal battles with cancer. Jennifer says this puts a “face” on cancer and inspires ARENA members to do all they can to support a member of their gym and their community.
“One of the wonderful things about our gym is that when it comes to a local cause, especially one they have a personal connection to, they want to be involved,” Jennifer says. “But sometimes they don’t know how to help out. That is where we are proud to play a role. When we offer events like the 5K BENCH ‘N’ BOLT we help them get involved personally in supporting the community.”
Get Active in Support of the Bliss Cancer Center
The ARENA and Runners United Nevada (RUN) are hosting the first-ever 5K BENCH AND BOLT in support of the William R. Bliss Cancer Center at 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 12. The event begins and ends at The ARENA, 1809 South G Avenue in Nevada.
The event is open to those of all ability levels and the 5K can be completed as a stand-alone walk/run. Those who want to deduct time off their 5K can participate in the bench press element prior to the race.
The event is family friendly event and includes a Kid's One Mile Fun Run.