It was a perfectly sunny, spring-like day for the second Color the Campus 5K for Cystic Fibrosis, but it rained a rainbow of colors at Georgia Southern University on Saturday, March 8.
About 200 participants started off the morning as blank canvases, dressed predominantly in white. As the runners and walkers wound their way through campus, volunteers tossed powdered paint onto them. By the time they finished, they were virtual works of art.
Clouds of colorful dust rose above each volunteer station during the course of the race. While many covered their faces and held their noses as they raced through, others rolled in the paint at the final station and pelted each other after the signature “paint toss” to conclude the run.
Participants enjoyed music, prizes and food afterward at the Recreation Activity Center pavilion.
Organized by the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority and Caroline Hilburn, who has cystic fibrosis, the event raised over $8,000 for the cause, doubling the take from last year’s inaugural race.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Another cystic fibrosis patient, Colin Butler, 22, of Powder Springs, gave an impassioned speech before the start, thanking participants because donations have helped fund the advancements in research and treatments that have extended the life expectancies of those with the disease. While few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school in the 1950s, the median life expectancy is now in the 40s. Butler announced he was shooting for his 90s to a thundering round of applause.
“We’re here to celebrate the people who are still here,” he said.