The Delta Alpha Chapter of Phi Sigma Pi National Honors Fraternity recently hosted the Karen’s 5K Run and 1-mile Walk in Gordon Field House at Rochester Institute of Technology.
There were two 5K races: a combined hard- and medium-mode race and an easy-mode race.
This annual event started over 15 years ago when Karen Decker, a close friend of the fraternity, died at 22 years old on March 20, 2002, from postpartum cardiomyopathy six weeks after giving birth to her daughter, Hannah.
PPCM is a rare disorder in which a weakened and damaged heart is diagnosed. It is a diagnosis of exclusion, where patients have no prior history of heart disease and there are no other known possible causes of heart failure. The cause of PPCM is unknown.
Phi Sigma Pi initially created the run and walk to raise money toward a college fund for Hannah. The event then became Karen’s Run and Walk, and has since raised over $25,000 for the Blaxall Lab at University of Rochester Medical Center. Burns Blaxall and his team research causes and possible treatments for all types of heart-related diseases, including cardiomyopathy.
Karen’s 5K Run and 1-mile Walk is entirely student-run.