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Hundreds participate in the annual Game Day Chase Saturday morning

Hundreds of people participated in Saturday morning's Game Day Chase before the Notre Dame game against Vanderbilt.

The proceeds benefit the Kelly Cares Foundation.

“We started it when I had gone through cancer myself," said Paqui Kelly, co-founder of the Kelly Cares Foundation along with her husband, Brian Kelly, the head coach of Notre Dame's Football Team.

The pair founded the Kelly Cares Foundation 10 years ago after Paqui's own personal battle.

She is now an advocate for cancer research, improved treatments and early detection, because she’s been down that road herself, twice.

She has beaten two different types of breast cancer.

“The types of cancer I tend to develop are very fast and aggressive so if i had waited I could have been stage 3 or 4," Paqui said.

She hopes lending her voice to the cause will prompt others to get regular check-ups and stay ahead of their health.

“Throwing my name out there, if it can happened to be me, it can happen to anyone,” she said.

Paqui says the Kelly Cares Foundation mission aligns perfectly with the Harper Cancer Research Institute.

The Harper Cancer Research Institute sits on Notre Dame’s campus, a total 75 different faculty members with medical backgrounds, engineering, mathematics, psychology and more are a part of the research.

Sharon Stack, a professor and the director of the institute says it’s all about bringing together the right people.

“We’re taking people that aren’t normally involved in cancer research, for example, engineers and putting them together with cancer biologists,” said Stack.

Her researchers are working on ways to detect hard to find cancers, earlier.

“Our goal is to essentially be unemployed, to make sure that nobody has to suffer with a diagnosis of their family and friends," said Stack.

If you’re thinking about lacing up your running shoes and tackling the Game Day Chase, maybe the benefits, not only to your own health, but the work to end cancer will give you the push you need.

“When they’re walking and running all they should have as their mantra is research cures cancer and I’m helping research at the Harper Institute right here in South Bend,” said Stack.

If you can't get out to the run, you can still take part in Kelly Cares Foundation activities next month.

Paqui’s Playbook is a series of events each October with an emphasis on breast cancer awareness and healthy initiatives.

Pink Out Zumba
Monday, October 1
Notre Dame Football Stadium
Pink Out Zumba kicks off Paqui’s Playbook. This event is a free Zumba session on the field of Notre Dame Football Stadium. Men, women, and children are welcome.

Trivia Night with Paqui Kelly
Thursday, October 18
Kankakee Grill
Join Paqui Kelly for a fun evening of trivia! Topics include Notre Dame Football, breast cancer facts, and more!

The Power of Pink Cocktail Party
Wednesday, October 24
South Club, Notre Dame Football Stadium
The Power of Pink Cocktail Party is an evening dedicated to raising money for breast cancer research.

2018 Playmaker of the Year
The Playmaker of the Year Award, presented by the Kelly Cares Foundation and its co-founders Brian and Paqui Kelly, honors that individual or group that serves as a catalyst for immediate, positive change in the Greater South Bend community. This Playmaker exemplifies leadership, resilience, and drive. While celebrated during breast cancer awareness month, this Playmaker can have an impact in a variety of fields in the Greater South Bend community.

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