Tyler Junior College

Tour for the Cure event set Saturday, Oct. 22

Published Monday, 17th October 2011

Tour for the Cure event set Saturday, Oct. 22

What better way to celebrate Tyler Junior College’s longevity than to host an event promoting health and wellness?

On Saturday, Oct. 22, TJC will honor its 85th anniversary year by hosting its first-ever Tour for the Cure, a daylong benefit event promoting health, fitness and the college’s nursing and health sciences programs. The day will culminate in a "pink-out" of Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Proceeds will benefit TJC’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the Tyler affiliate for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The Tour for the Cure begins bright and early Saturday, Oct. 22, at Mike Carter Field, with 6:30 a.m. registration for two challenging bike rides – an 85-kilometer ride in honor of the school’s anniversary and a 50k ride. The rides begin at 7:30 a.m., from the Mike Carter Field parking lot, located at 1900 W. Houston St.

At 9 a.m., an 8k family fun ride will begin, and a Zumbathon "Party in Pink" led by local instructor and TJC alumna Leah Wansley will shake things up on the Mike Carter Field parking lot.

The TJC Apache Belles will join the festivities at 11 a.m. The Belles and their Apache Belle Gold alumni will host a 1-mile "My Boots are Made for Walking" walk and parade.

At noon, an Azalea Orthopedics Fitness Festival Tailgate will be held on the parking lot. In addition to a healthy lunch, the tailgate will include complimentary health screenings, games and contests for families. Entertainment will be provided by Take 2, a local classic rock band.

At 2 p.m., the festivities will move to Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium, where participants will have a victory lap and form a giant pink ribbon on the field. The survivor of the year will be introduced to the crowd.

At 3 p.m., the TJC Apaches kick off in their first-ever game with Lon Morris College.

"There is literally something for everyone in this event," said Mitch Andrews, TJC director of principal gifts and Tour for the Cure organizer. "Whether you are a serious athlete or would just like to come out and enjoy a fun day of health and fitness with your family, we have the perfect event for you.

"And most importantly, it’s all in support of two great causes: our nursing and health sciences programs and Tyler’s Komen affiliate."

Health care in East Texas is a $3.11 billion industry supporting 25,000 jobs in Tyler; and due to the area’s aging population, the need for access to quality healthcare grows with each passing year.

Through its 11 programs, TJC trains a large portion of the nurses and health support workers who take jobs at local facilities.

Each year, TJC graduates about 600 students and many go right to work or seek advanced degrees. There are an estimated 1,100 students in the Nursing and Health Sciences programs and about 2,300 are currently taking pre-requisites to enter into a program.

Besides the nursing programs, radiologic technology, sonography and dental hygiene are the fastest growing at TJC. Due to the limited amount of space available, the competition for admission is great; and each year, a number of applicants must be turned down.

This year, the school experienced a record total enrollment — 12,062. They added a 12-week short semester to meet the demand. The school recently underwent a $27 million infrastructure upgrade, but now looks to raise funds for expansions to its health sciences programs.

With limited space and an overflow of applicants to the health programs, school officials wish to expand its services, improve technology and build upon its facilities. Officials say the school must be responsive to the need in the community.

TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said he is hoping to increase graduates with an expansion in the allied health sciences programs by 300 per year or more. With an average salary of $40,000, that would bring about $12 million into the area’s economy.

TJC officials hope to add new programs such as geriatric care, nuclear medicine, cardiovascular technology and polysomnography (sleep studies).

Instructors with allied health programs said its services are vital to health care. Normally, patients only see the doctor or nurse, but it’s the support services technicians who work behind the scenes – through laboratory technology, radiologic technology and sonography – who aid in patient diagnosis and treatment.

The Komen Tyler Affiliate was approved in June 1998, and the first Tyler Race for the Cure was held on May 8, 1999. That first race had approximately 2,500 participants. The 2008 race had more than 5,500. Over the last ten years, the Tyler Affiliate’s grants have provided more than 5,000 mammograms and more than $1.5 million in services.

Komen’s Tyler affiliate is the primary source of information concerning breast health and, in addition to its annual race, hosts other events in the community.

Cost for early registration to Tour for the Cure is $25, and $30 after Oct. 17; cost for students and children is $10; and registration for a second parent is also $10.

All registration fees include Tour for the Cure T-shirts, goody bags, football games and admission to the Azalea Orthopedics Fitness Festival Tailgate.

For more information or to register, go to www.tjc.edu/tourforthecure/.

Elise Mullinix


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