Slay Sarcoma Research Institute Hosts 5K Run

Nichole Jin ’24 and Helena Chen ’24 in News | October 7, 2022

Founded by Ava Noorchashm ’23 and her family in 2012, the Slay Sarcoma Research Initiative is an organization that raises awareness and funds for research that can cure leiomyosarcoma. On October 15, the organization will be holding its ninth annual 5K Run/Walk to raise support for the initiative. 
The 5K is open to individuals of all ages, with virtual and in-person options available for participation. The race was canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “It was unfortunate, but I’m really glad that my close family members and I were able to come out and do it together,” Noorchashm said. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Slay Sarcoma’s races began offering a virtual option so that participants could complete the activity in their own time. Virtual racers can then record their times on the Slay Sarcoma website and “compete with each other online.”
Each year, between 300 and 400 people participate in the 5K Run/Walk. While some more experienced participants can finish the course within 30 minutes, others, who may bring their families and pets with them and/or choose to walk, have the possibility of taking “up to two and a half hours” to complete the race, Noorchashm explained. All the proceeds from the 5K race, as well as Slay Sarcoma’s other fundraisers, are donated towards funding research at the University of Pennsylvania to find a cure for leiomyosarcoma, a rare type of sarcoma cancer that begins in smooth muscle tissue. The University and its hospital are conducting different experiments “all year round” to learn more about the cancer and endeavor to find a potential treatment. 
The Noorchashm family started the Slay Sarcoma initiative following the diagnosis of Amy Reed P’23, Noorchashm’s mother, with leiomyosarcoma. The organization hosts a variety of fundraising events throughout the year to “raise awareness and funds for sarcoma” research, with the 5K typically being the largest event that they host. “It’s just a really great time, and all of our family and good friends get together every October to do it,” Noorchashm elaborated. 
This year was the first time Noorchashm announced the 5K to the Lawrenceville School community. “My mom passed away the year before I came to Lawrenceville, and I’ve gotten to the point where I feel more comfortable talking about it publicly,” she said. Before, Noorchashm felt that it was harder to talk about the event while she was at school because “a lot of people didn’t know” about the circumstances that lead to the creation of the Slay Sarcoma initiative. After taking time to process, Noorchasm decided to share the news of the 5K with the Lawrenceville community to foster more awareness for the disease and raise more support for the organization. 
“Slay Sarcoma has become a big part of my life, because it is my mom’s legacy to my five siblings and [me],” Noorchashm said. When she is in college, Noorchashm will continue to promote the organization now that she is “more comfortable speaking about it.”