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Sunday, October 01, 2023

UF medical students to run in Tacky Sweater 5K to raise money

UF medical students will dust off their tacky holiday sweaters for a good cause Saturday. 

Runners will line up at 8 a.m. at the Commuter Lot on Gale Lemerand Drive, showcasing their creative, flashy holiday sweaters for the Tacky Sweater Holiday 5K.

But the event is not all about the festive garb.

The run will raise money for the medical outreach programs part of the UF Global Health organization.

UF Global Health is a nonprofit organization comprised of six groups of physicians and medical students who take annual trips to Haiti, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Nicaragua.

The six medical teams provided health care supplies and medical assistance to more than 6,100 people last year, according to the 5K registration page.

Trip leader and second-year UF medical student, Cristi Rabaza, 23, said while working in Dominican Republic clinic last year, her team served as many as 1,500 patients.

“The trips are really complicated, and there’s a lot that needs to get taken care of,” Rabaza said, “and these funds help us do what we need to do while we’re there.”

Rabaza said the medical students do all of the hard work when it comes to planning the trips abroad, and the biggest challenge is raising the necessary funds to have a successful trip.

This is not the first time the College of Medicine has hosted a race to raise money for its medical trips, but this is the first holiday themed event, Rabaza said.

Ben King, event coordinator and 25-year-old graduate medical student, said he expects more than 200 people to participate in the run and to raise about $7,000.

The organization plans to continue the tacky sweater idea for future fundraising, too.

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“We will be doing it each year from here on out with the same theme,” King said.

Along with the race, there will be a competition for the tackiest sweater.

Runners can register online with the link on the Tacky Sweater Holiday 5K Facebook page, or they can register at the event for an increased price.

Registration for one adult is $20 without a race T-shirt and $25 with a T-shirt. Children under 12 can register for $10.

“We want people to feel like they’re contributing to our cause, but at the same time, they’re having fun and they’re getting involved in the community,” Rabaza said.

[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 12/3/2014]

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