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   Date: 11/18/11 Bookmark and Share

Eight on JYA Run the Corri La Vita

The annual foot race in Florence, Italy, supports breast cancer research and care

By Kelly Beauvais ‘13

The Piazza della Signoria bursts with participants before the race.

Although soccer is clearly Italy’s passion when it comes to sports, more than 22,000 Italians gathered in Florence for a different kind of athletic competition on a recent fall Sunday.

It was late September when a sea of green-clad runners and walkers of all ages stepped up and toed the starting line, ready to push off for the ninth running of the Corri la Vita (Run Your Life), a 12-kilometer run and 5-kilometer walk to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.

The annual event supports research projects and nonprofit healthcare facilities in Florence. Funds raised from this year’s race were given to:

  • the Lega Italiana per la Lotta contro i Tumori in Firenze (Italian League Against Cancer in Florence)
  • Centro Riabilitazione Oncologia (Cancer Rehabilitation Center)
  • the Fondazione Italiana di Leniterapia (Italian Lenitherapy Foundation), which works with palliative care, together with the Oltre il Ponte progetto (Over the Bridge project)
  • “The Vito Distante Project in Breast Cancer Clinical Research”
  • and to breast diagnostics at the Anzienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Careggi in Florence.

The race also celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy. The race colors were thus appropriately those of the Italian national flag: green, white, and red.

Posing before the Florence landmark the Duomo (front row left to right): Tia Polidori '12, Emma Wade '13 (flexing), and Josie Tejada '13; back row (l to r): Juniors Vittoria Dussias, Louisa Loring, Kylie Fisher, Decatur Macpherson, Paula Gonzalez Del Real, and Kelly Beauvais.

Eight of Smith’s JYA Florence students donned the green race shirts and walked with the pack along the route through the city’s cobble-stoned streets. The walk passes by places of historic and artistic importance, including landmarks honoring and remembering the unification of Italy.

Beginning in the Piazza della Signoria, where the Smith JYA Center is located, and winding through the Piazza Mentana, the Palazzo Pitti and Boboli Gardens, the Piazza della Republica, and the Palazzo Bartolommei before winding back to the Piazza della Signoria, the 3.1-mile course offered a breathtaking panorama of historic sights.

Back at the Piazza della Signoria, thousands gathered and cheered on the runners and walkers. The atmosphere was nothing short of lively, exciting, and inspirational.

Joselina Tejada says she ’13 couldn’t believe the number of people who came to the event. “I was so impressed” she said. “It was really great seeing the Florentine community come together to support such a noble cause. Even though the streets were really crowded, everything went by smoothly. The Florentines cooperated well and overall it was a very pleasant walk.”

Personally, taking part in an event like this, alongside the Florentine community, helped me feel more like a part of it. I felt like I was doing something with the community and not just in it. Though I had been in Florence for only 10 days at the time, I didn’t feel like a foreigner or feel out of place. Instead, I learned that by making an effort to be a part of the local community and immersing myself in the culture in different ways, I will learn more about the society and find myself being more open to and accepting of all the different aspects of it.

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