The Hamilton Eye Institute (HEI) Lion’s Club at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center will host the fourth-annual Brad Baker Honorary Race for Sight 5K on March 13. The race was originally scheduled for February 20, but was postponed due to inclement weather. Participants will still have the option to participate in person at Shelby Farms Park in Memphis or virtually. Registration is required for both options.
The 5K is the primary community fundraiser for the Ivan Marais Cataract-A-Thon, a two-day event that provides free cataract evaluation, surgery, and post-operative care to the underserved and in-need populations across the southeastern United States. Due to COVID-19, the Cataract-a-Thon was canceled in 2020. A date for this year has not been announced.
The in-person race will begin at 9 a.m. at the Tour De Wolf Pavilion located at 500 North Pine Lake Drive. To comply with CDC guidelines, social distancing and masks will be required. There will be varied start times to avoid large crowds. Those who wish to participate virtually will complete the race in their neighborhoods, while tracking their progress through the Asics Runkeeper app.
“The ultimate goal is to help people receive the gift of sight in the Mid-South and around the world,” said Brad Baker, chief executive officer for the Mid-South Lions, a co-sponsor of the event. “Without the partnership between Mid-South Lions, the HEI Lions Club, Methodist Hospital, Church Health, and UTHSC, our program would not be able to provide care to our patients.”
“Planning the event has been special,” said fourth-year medical student and aspiring ophthalmologist Jonathan Rho, who co-led organizing efforts with his classmates, Conner Nix and Nik Hopkins. “With the assistance of HEI faculty, our main task was to oversee the logistics of the event, securing sponsors, leading advertising and marketing efforts, and recruiting volunteers. But our cause goes beyond this race. We get to contribute to changing lives by providing essential services for those in the community, who wouldn’t be able to afford them otherwise.”
To register, go to: https://raceroster.com/events/2021/38174/hamilton-eye-institute-race-for-sight-5k . The in-person registration fee is $20, which includes a race T-shirt and tote bag. UTHSC students can register for $15. The virtual registration fee is $20 and includes a race T-shirt and associated shipping fees for the shirt. Those who only wish to donate, can register as a “spirit runner” for $20. Participants who signed up for the in-person February 20 event, but are no longer able to participate, should email email@example.com to receive their T-shirt or a refund.
During the Cataract-a-Thon, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and nurses volunteer a significant amount of their time to provide services. Medical device companies donate supplies to the cause. It honors ophthalmologist and cataract surgery innovator Ivan Marais, MD, who died in 2017.