2,000 run in D-backs Race Against Cancer

Annual event raises more than $225,000 to provide cancer screening, treatment

The D-backs Race Against Cancer, which took place Saturday morning, was about more than just seeing who finishes first. It was about the stories of why people were running and walking to support the third annual event.

"I am so proud of the growth of this event. All of our initiatives are meaningful and have great impact on the community, but this may be the most significant," said D-backs president & CEO Derrick Hall. "Everyone knows someone who has been touched by this dreadful disease. These funds will go toward research, treatment and education as we look to save lives and find a cure. My own foundation, the Derrick Hall Pro-State Foundation, is a beneficiary of the generosity of everyone running and walking. Being a cancer survivor myself, I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart."

More than 2,000 people took part in the D-backs Race Against Cancer, presented by the University of Arizona Cancer Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. The event included a 5K and one-mile Banana Boat Family Walk, with both courses beginning and ending at Chase Field and winding through the streets of downtown Phoenix, and every participant getting the opportunity to take a victory lap on the field. Fans were able to use the hashtag #DbacksRace to see their social media posts on dbTV ,and #DbacksRace was the No. 1 trend on Twitter in Phoenix on Saturday morning.

The event also raised more than $225,000 that will benefit the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation and will be distributed to Arizona non-profits that provide screening, treatment and support for those dealing with cancer.

The top male finisher, Michael Simmons, completed the 5K in 15:24 and was running on behalf of his grandmother, who lost her battle to cancer just over a year ago. Simmons works at Sole Sports Running Zone and found out about the race through co-workers, including past Race Against Cancer winner Kevin Kimmerle.

"It is for a good cause and a great competition, and a combination of those two is a win-win," said Simmons. "I have only been here a short time, but it seems like the D-backs are very active in the community and supporting local charities and causes."

The top female finisher for the second year in a row, 17-year-old Penny Fenn, drove in from Cottonwood to take part in the 5K and finished in 18:31, running on behalf of her grandfather.

One of the most inspirational stories of the day was the Hallsey family, who was participating in support of their son Tyler, who passed away just 10 months ago from DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma). D-backs legend Luis Gonzalez, affectionately known as Gonzo, led the Hallsey team in the 5K in support of Tyler.

"When I want to stop, I just think of Tyler -- he never gave up, he kept going, and I kept telling myself I am going to keep going and finish the race in honor of Tyler," said Tyler's mom, Kathleen Hallsey. "It really pushes you along. [Tyler] fought for 17 months, and his motto was 'Do Whatever It Takes.' And so now our family motto is to do whatever it takes in whatever we do for him, and in honor of him."