October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and in an effort to support victims and survivors, Navajo County Victims Services — together with the Family Advocacy Center and the RE:Center — is announcing the first ever “Walk/Run Away from Abuse” 5K Run, to be held on Saturday, Oct. 23.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m., with the run starting at 9 a.m. at Show Low Park.

The event will conclude at The House Restaurant, 1191 E. Hall St., Show Low, where a “Take a Stand Against Abuse” luncheon will be held after the race.

Cost to participate in the run is $35, and interested persons can log in to Eventbrite.com to register and list their shirt size, as all runners will receive a T-shirt and bracelet.

People can also sign in to Facebook and search “Walk/Run Away from Abuse” for more information.

This month’s awareness origins are rooted in a Day of Unity on Monday, Oct. 4, to connect battered women’s advocates across the country. Domestic Violence Awareness Month will be kicked off on that date in Arizona by Gov. Doug Ducey, who will “light Arizona purple” in the seventh-annual lighting ceremony.

Following the governor’s lead, the city of Show Low has proclaimed October “Domestic Violence Awareness Month,” and will also feature purple lights throughout the month, as well as decorating all downtown statues in purple.

In addition, Thursday, Oct. 21, has been designated “Wear Purple Day,” and Nicole Kester of the Navajo County Advocacy Center, is asking residents to wear purple on that date, as well as light homes and businesses purple to raise awareness about domestic abuse.

“Community members and local businesses will be encouraged to show their ‘lights’ on Facebook under the hashtag “Walk/Run Away from Abuse or the hashtag “LightingAZPurple.”

Local businesses are being asked to pitch in by sponsoring the event, with proceeds benefiting victims of abuse in Navajo County by providing emergency assistance, including shelter, food, clothing and transportation.

Sponsors will be recognized at the after-race luncheon, and will be afforded an opportunity to speak at that time.

Sponsorship levels are:

• $1,000 (FIGHT), which will entitle the sponsor to have its corporate logo on banners at the finish line and event promotions

• $500 (RUN), which will give the sponsor recognition via its corporate logo on all printed materials, as well as mention in press releases and advertisements

• $250 (WALK), which will include the donor’s corporate logo in the luncheon program and signs highlighting sponsorship along the walk/run

• $100 (STROLL), with sponsorship being recognized in the program.

Interested businesses may also donate small promotional items that will be included in gift bags for each run participant.

Businesses are also encouraged to donate items for a raffle to be held at the luncheon. Cash donations will also be appreciated.

Any organization wishing to participate may contact Brandi Petersen, 928-242-7469; Amber Blaase, 928-242-4375; or Patrice Ulibarri, 928-458-2995.

The run is the brainchild of the three, who are all abuse survivors. Potential sponsors may also email WRAFAinfo@gmail.com. Once sponsorship is secured, businesses can email a high resolution logo to Kester at Nicole.kester@navajocountyaz.gov. Donation checks should be made out to the Navajo County Family Advocacy Center.

The Advocacy Center, which is located at 902 E. Deuce of Clubs Ave. in Show Low, has assisted 140 domestic violence victims since January. Of those victims, 78% were child sexual abuse victims. FAC says that 95% of victims knew and trusted their abuser, and 56% were considered domestic violence cases.

Anyone suffering from domestic violence or abuse may call the 24-hour hotline at Navajo County Crisis Services, 928-242-6565, for help.

Becky Knapp is a lifelong journalist who has worked at newspapers in Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Florida. Reach the reporter at bknapp@wmicentral.com

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