Coach Kim Evans and the rest of the Auburn women's golf team completed the Save the O's 5K in Birmingham on Saturday, Aug. 16. (Photo courtesy of Lloyd E Beard)
AUBURN, Ala. - It wasn't so long ago that coach Kim Evans could barely walk half a mile.
Evans, the longtime Auburn women's head golf coach who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in May 2013, was a guest of honor last August at the "Save the O's 5K" in Birmingham. In the midst of her chemotherapy treatment, she was invited as the honorary starter but was determined to participate in any way she could.
"Last year they asked me to shoot the gun and start the race," Evans said. "Of course I knew I couldn't run the 5K, but I thought I would walk the mile, which I thought would be easy. So I said a few words, then I shot the gun and started walking. I got about halfway out, and I thought, `Oh my goodness, I've got to go back.' So I only walked maybe half a mile.
"I remember looking as all the people ran in (finishing the 5K), and I said, `I am going to run in that next year.'"
Fast-forward to August 2014. Evans, pronounced cancer-free last September, has been regaining her strength ever since. And this year, she was able to complete the 5K run on Aug. 16 at Greystone Golf & Country Club in Birmingham.
"They asked me again to say a few words," Evans said, "but this time I was there to run, too. I had my doctor, Warner Huh, run with me, along with a lot of family and friends. I was happy to do it and happy to raise awareness - that's what it's all about. I had the time of my life."
She wasn't running alone, of course. With 39 members, "Coach Kim's Team" was the largest group to participate in the event, and her team raised more than $2,600. Overall, the event raised more than $55,000 with 400 participants in the race.
"While we had fewer participants and raised a little bit less, we created a great deal of awareness about ovarian cancer and lifted the spirits of those battling this disease," Susan Greene, executive director of the Norma Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation, said.
Evans was most proud to have the entire Auburn women's golf team and coaching staff participating, along with several former players.
"We had the biggest team and raised the most money," Evans said. "What's neat is that next year I hope we can double that. It was unbelievable to have the support of the team with them all coming out on their own to do that. It was a great kickoff for our season."
The "Save the O's 5K' also served as a kickoff for several more events set to take place around the state next month. September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and Evans will be appearing at a number of functions, highlighted by the "State of Teal" event on Tuesday, Sept. 2, at Regions Field in Birmingham.
Evans will be the featured speaker at that event, which will conclude with the "BIRMINGHAM" sign along the first-base side being lit in teal for the month of September.
"I'm excited about `State of Teal' coming up," she said. "It's a platform that I'm sitting in the middle of. Awareness is so key for this disease. I'm just in a place right now where hopefully I can get people aware and hopefully raise funds for research which can go for a cure."