Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline and District Attorney Deb Ryan announce details of the 7th annual Chester County Color 5K run and walk, which raises funds to combat the opioid and heroin epidemic in the county. This year’s Color 5K will be held on Saturday, October 7, at Exton Park and along the Chester Valley Trail. The John R. Gailey III and JoEllen Berger Charitable Trust returns this year as the event’s presenting sponsor, something it has done since 2019.
Registration for the Chester County Color 5K is open to teams and individuals at chesco.org/color5k. Pre-registration is encouraged, and race day registration begins at 8:00 a.m., with the race starting at 9:00 a.m.
Chester County Commissioner Marian Moskowitz said, “Chester County is enormously grateful for the commitment that the John R. Gailey III and JoEllen Berger Charitable Fund continues to demonstrate in the fight against the opioid and heroin epidemic in our community. Its generous support and contributions allow us to leverage even more funding to help those suffering from and affected by substance use disorder.”
The Chester County Color 5K draws thousands of participants and supporters and has raised more than $200,000 since it began. All proceeds from the Color 5K directly support Chester County’s Community Outreach Prevention and Education (COPE) program.
The COPE program was created in 2018 to steer overdose survivors being treated in any of Chester County’s hospital emergency rooms towards treatment and has proven to be a positive step in the recovery process. The COPE program is a “warm handoff” of an overdose survivor to treatment through the help of a certified recovery specialist. The specialist arrives within one hour of an overdose survivor’s arrival in the emergency room and provides the survivor with personal support and a connection to treatment.
Commissioner Josh Maxwell said, “COPE helps to connect overdose survivors 24 hours a day, seven days a week with someone who personally understands substance use disorder and the challenges to recovery – all in an emergency room regardless of insurance. COPE peer specialists also meet with friends and family to discuss treatment paths and provide Naloxone and educate them on using it. It is a tremendous program that has guided countless people into treatment.”
Commissioner Michelle Kichline led the effort to establish the Chester County Color 5K in 2016 as part of her commitment to addressing the opioid and heroin crisis affecting so many in Chester County. Since then, she has seen the event grow into a positive fundraising effort that helps de-stigmatize substance use disorder and leads individuals to treatment and a hopeful path to recovery.
“COPE team members have successfully engaged with 98 percent of Chester County’s overdose survivors, referred 93 percent to treatment, and admitted 72 percent. Over the past five years, the COPE program has received more than 2,000 referrals for overdose survivors from Chester County hospitals,” said Commissioner Kichline.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said, “It is a tragic truth that Chester County lost 103 people to accidental drug overdoses in 2022 since each one was preventable. Whether through the COPE program or the Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative (LETI), help is available to those suffering from substance use disorder because the loss to family, friends, and our community is devastating. The Color 5K is an initiative everyone can get behind to help battle substance use disorder.”
Numerous Chester County Color 5K sponsorship levels are available to organizations and individuals, and they are encouraged to help raise even more funds for the County’s COPE Program. Contact Rebecca Brain, Chester County Public Information Officer, at [email protected], for more information.
The Chester County Community Foundation administers the Chester County Color 5K. All Color 5K sponsorships and registration fees are 501(c)(3) charitable tax donations.
Complete information on the 2023 Chester County Color 5K, including sponsorship and registration information, can be found at chesco.org/color5k.