Event raises $24K for Shepard Cancer Foundation

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Eleven years strong, with 10 of those years supporting the Shepard Cancer Foundation, the Smith family and the small creek side community of Smithton took an idea to honor a friend and loved one and made it into a successful fundraiser.

Darleen Smith, who lost her fight with cancer in April 2010 at the age of 59, was the inspiration for the Darleen’s Flamingo 5K and its theme – Make Your Own Party.  Since 2010, the family and surrounding community have held an event to honor their mother, wife, sister, aunt, and friend while raising awareness of cancer. The family appropriately decided to host a 5K so they could share the waterfront community she loved so much with others.

Darleen’s friends, family and neighbors coupled two aspects of her life into planning their annual party for Smith — her zest for life and her fondness for pink flamingos.  In support of the fight against cancer, runners and walkers arrive early suited up in bright pink from head to toe as they set out to take in the 5K course lined with pink flamingos and water views.

Through sponsorships, donations, and registration fees, the Darleen’s Flamingo has raised $190,000 in 10 years to benefit the Marion L. Shepard Cancer Center Foundation in Washington. The event this past October raised $24,000.

Nikki Klapp, founder of the fundraiser and Darleen’s daughter said, “The Shepard Cancer Foundation was chosen as the beneficiary because our family recognizes that cancer affects many families in eastern North Carolina and we wanted the money to stay local, in Beaufort County benefitting friends and neighbors.

The Shepard Cancer Center’s mission is to offer the highest quality of care for its patients. In addition to providing care focused on diagnosis and treatment of cancer, the Cancer Center’s Foundation works to improve the lives of patients, caregivers and cancer survivors through complimentary therapies, thus providing treatment for the emotional symptoms of cancer as well.

Contributions made to the Shepard Cancer Foundation support the center’s efforts to improve the mind, body and spirit of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers as well as supports efforts related to prevention and early detection of cancer.

“The Darleen’s Flamingo 5K made another very generous donation to the Foundation this year,” said Jim Hackney, Shepard Cancer Foundation President. “We are very grateful to every sponsor, runner and walker and especially to the Smith family and the Smithton community for their dedication and tireless efforts to support cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.”