Get Out for a Good Cause!

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Springtime in Cenla provides ample opportunities to enjoy the riches of Sportsman’s Paradise before the temperatures begin to soar throughout the summer. This season also brings great chances to support a number of worthwhile causes that provide enormous benefit to our community at the same time. Whether you’re a runner, love a fun-filled festival, or live for that next tee time, it’s time to get outside for a great cause!

Get Out for a Good Cause!The season got off to a great start at the end of March with the inaugural Lauren Vaughn Memorial 5K, or LV5K as it’s popularly known.  The race is held in memory of Lauren Vaughn, an Alexandria native, former ASH Trojan student-athlete, and Northwestern State University nursing student, who was tragically lost to a car crash in April 2023. The Lauren Vaughn Memorial Foundation hosts the LV5K as a fundraiser to benefit the Lauren Vaughn Memorial Scholarship at NSU for the Accelerated BS to BSN Program, which assists future nurses and raises awareness for drunk and impaired driving.

Get Out for a Good Cause!Over 800 people participated in the first LV5K on the Saturday before Easter, which included both 5K and 1-mile courses. Awards were given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place Overall Male and Female, and for Individual Age Groups in both the 5K and 1-mile categories. As part of the day’s events, Lauren’s softball jersey #22 was retired with the dedication of a new plaque in her honor at the ASH softball field.

The event was such a big success that LV5K 2025 is already planned for Saturday, April 19, 2025! Even if you missed the race this year, you can still support the Lauren Vaughn Memorial Foundation in its mission of “Destination Zero Deaths” by visiting LV5K.com, where you can also sign up for next year’s race. To donate to the Lauren Vaughn Memorial Scholarship at NSU directly, visit northwesternstatealumni.com/vaughn-scholarship.

Get Out for a Good Cause!The American Cancer Society’s 2024 Cenla Relay for Life will be held on Friday, April 12th in Downtown Alexandria. This festival-style event will feature a survivor celebration, food and fun for all ages, live entertainment, a luminaria procession, fireworks, and more!

Proceeds from the Relay event will benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS), a leading cancer-fighting organization with a vision to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. ACS is improving the lives of people with cancer and their families as the leading organization combating cancer through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

Gather your team and head downtown for the festivities. A Relay for Life team is a group of people who come together to raise money for the ACS. First and foremost, Relay for Life believes that fundraising should be fun! Find something you love to do and host a party, sports competition, raffle, or sale. You can also host a campsite at the relay event!

Get Out for a Good Cause!The Cenla Relay for Life event will light up the night in two ways. The first is through the Luminaria Ceremony, where participants are invited to purchase a luminaria bag in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of someone who lost their battle with cancer. Bags are available for a $10.00 donation and will be placed all around the event location. They can be purchased in advance or on the day of the event. Later, the skies will come alive with an amazing fireworks display while everyone jams to the irresistible sounds of The Molly Ringwalds, performing live!

Relay for Life is a free celebration and open to the public. For more information, visit RelayforLife.org/Cenla.

Get Out for a Good Cause!Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault Lafasa (LaFASA) will host a SAAM Community Awareness Day in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month on Saturday, April 13th at 10:00am on the grounds of Beyond Fitness at the Courtyard, located at 5615 Jackson Street in Alexandria. Come for fun, food, games, and to see the resources that are in your community. LaFASA, LSUA, STAR, and other agencies will have tents and games to play.

LaFASA is a statewide non-profit coalition of the state’s community-based sexual assault centers and other agencies and individuals concerned about sexual violence. LaFASA is committed to empowering survivors, engaging advocates, and changing systems and social norms to end sexual violence in Louisiana.

There will be face painting, balloons, rock painting, ring toss and more. Bring a picnic blanket and enjoy food from the food trucks on premises. Enjoy free root beer donated by Abita Brewery to the first 50 attendees and goody bags for the first 100 attendees. This event is free and open to people of all ages! For more information, visit LaFASA.org.

The Rotary Club of Avoyelles will host the 2024 Rotary Club Scholarship Scramble 2 Person Golf Tournament on Friday, April 19th at the beautiful Tamahka Trails Golf Club at Paragon Casino Resort, a charter member of the Audubon Golf Trail.

Get Out for a Good Cause!

Rotary is a global network of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change–across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. Locally, the Avoyelles Rotary Club will utilize funds raised at this year’s tournament to award several university scholarships, a technical school scholarship, and to award the Margaret Plauche Award/scholarship to local high school seniors.

Participants will compete in teams of two with the day kicking off at 12:00pm with an opening lunch, followed by the Putting Challenge before Tee Time at 1:00pm. The day will wrap with an awards ceremony at 5:00pm at the Tamahka Trails Clubhouse. Register for the tournament or become a sponsor by visiting https://shorturl.at/drx49.

Get Out for a Good Cause!Get on the move with the Sickle Cell Anemia Resource Foundation (SCARF) 2nd Annual Rosia’s Walk-a-Thon and Health Fair in honor of its founder, Rosia G. Metoyer. The walk will be held on Saturday, April 20th from 9:00am to 12:00pm at Frank O. Hunter Park, located at 2399 Willow Glen Road in Alexandria.

The 2nd Annual Rosia’s Walk-a-Thon & Health Fair aims to raise awareness about sickle cell anemia and its impact on individuals and families, provide resources and support to those living with sickle cell anemia and their caregivers, foster a sense of community among individuals affected by sickle cell anemia, and promote healthy lifestyle choices and access to healthcare services for individuals with sickle cell anemia.

Get Out for a Good Cause!
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Sickle Cell Disease is an inherited rare blood disorder that affects 1 in 375 African-Americans and 100,000 Americans.  Healthy red blood cells are round and move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen throughout the body.  The red blood cells in someone with SCD are C-shaped and become stiff and sticky.  The sickle shape makes it hard to flow through the blood vessels and prevents proper oxygenation throughout the body.  When the sickle cells get stuck in the small blood vessels, it clogs the blood flow and creates a pain crisis.

During the Walk-a-Thon and Health Fair, participants can visit several vendors on site, get free sickle cell trait testing by the LSUA health department, donate blood and learn your blood type from the LifeShare Blood Center, enjoy music, food, ice cream from Red River Bank, Kona Ice, participate in community networking, and more.

Participants of all ages and backgrounds are invited to join the walk, to volunteer, or to simply come to show support for making a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by sickle cell anemia. Registration is $25.00 for adults and $15.00 for children. Sickle Cell Warriors and their immediate families can attend the event for free. Registration before the event is required by visiting scarfcenla.org or on-site starting at 8:00am on the 20th.

SCARF will also be accepting donations to help support their efforts in care coordination, providing resources, and more for individuals living with sickle cell disease in the community.

The 13th Annual LSUA/GAA Golf Tournament will tee off on Friday, April 26th at Links on the Bayou in Alexandria. All proceeds from the tournament will support the student-athletes of LSUA through the Generals Athletic Association (GAA). “The LSUA/GAA Golf tournament is always one of the great events we do as a University,” LSUA Athletics Director Tyler Unsicker said. “It’s a great opportunity for our Cenla community to interact with our coaches and student-athletes in a fun environment at the Links on the Bayou.”

Get Out for a Good Cause!The Generals Athletic Association is a private, nonprofit association dedicated to supporting LSUA and its athletic programs. The GAA’ s mission is clear—to lead the university in building a comprehensively superior athletic program. Contributions to GAA benefit every athlete and every team at LSUA through scholarship and academic awards, as well as through the construction and maintenance of athletic facilities. These projects, large and small, chart an unmistakable course to excellence. It is this shared vision of excellence by the alumni and friends that is making the future success of the LSUA Generals a reality.

Teams of four will compete in a shotgun start starting at 1:00pm. Lunch will be provided as well as the opportunity to meet and greet with student-athletes and coaches on the course throughout the day. Winners of the golf tournament will also receive prizes.

To register or for more information about becoming a sponsor, visit LSUAGenerals.com.

Get Out for a Good Cause!Run for your life at the 15th Annual Run for Your Life 5K Urban Trail Run and 1 Mile Fun Run at Forts Randolph and Buhlow State Historic Site on Saturday, May 4th! Proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research. Cost is $20.00 until midnight May 2nd and $30.00 on race day.

The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats, and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Get Out for a Good Cause!Register at runsignup.com or active.com. You can also pick up a registration form at Lagniappe Homecare offices. Packet Pick Up is Friday, May 3rd from 12:00pm to 5:30pm at Lagniappe Homecare, located at 3130 Jackson Street in Alexandria, or on race day from 6:30am to 7:45am at Forts Buhlow/Randolph, located at 135 Riverfront Street in  Pineville.

For more information, contact Jamie Shelton or Sondra Walker at (318) 628-4116 or Tracy Cumings at (318) 442-9552.

As you can see, there’s something for everyone this spring in Cenla and you don’t want to miss out! So, lace up your shoes, load up your clubs, and get outside for a great cause!