Team Lynn Sage’s Jan Ferris finds the fun in fundraising 

One of the greatest compliments an athlete can hear is “you have a lot of heart.” By Jan Ferris’ own words, running races doesn’t come easy for her. But you’ll be hard-pressed to find a runner anywhere with more heart.

“I have been participating in Breast Cancer walks/runs for 8 years, always as part of a team, so when Team Lynn Sagewas created I was just thrilled to be a part of it.  Running is not easy for me, I often joke that I am not built for speed, but I enjoy the challenge and the sense of accomplishment that comes from raising funds for such an important cause, and pushing myself to achieve both fundraising and personal performance goals.”

Since Jan was introduced to The Lynn Sage Foundation several years ago, she has gone from volunteer to Board member to the top fundraiser on Team Lynn Sage.

“I loved the fact that this foundation was created and is led by the family of Lynn Sage and I appreciate the focus on raising funds for cancer research. I started volunteering in my spare time and when Laura invited me to join the board, I was honored.  Like many, my friends and family have been impacted by breast cancer, as well as many other forms of cancer. Because of that, cancer research is where I want my efforts to be focused.”

And Jan is very focused. Over the past two years, she has raised over $2,200 as part of Team Lynn Sage. Her energy and enthusiasm for each race are contagious.

“Race day with Team Lynn Sage is a super-energizing experience.  It’s great to have people on the same team encouraging one another, and I am always proud to wear my Team Lynn Sage t-shirt.” 

“The first year, my mom, Ilene Olson, was visiting Chicago and came to cheer me on.  Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to her and Angie gave her a t-shirt to represent Team Lynn Sage.  My mom was going to walk the course, but ran it instead because (in her words), ‘I realized how long it would take if I walked the whole thing, so I started running and just kept going!’ With no training at all, she finished 3rd in her age class.  She is my hero!”

Jan is a hero to many in her own right.  She has a gift for making the difficult appear easy, whether it’s completing a race or requesting donations. Jan is the first to share that asking people for money wasn’t always easy for her. As social media has grown over her eight years of racing, it’s widened her network and made this sometimes uncomfortable task a lot easier.

“I set a challenging goal for myself and use every platform available — Facebook, Instagram, email.  I start early and keep my posts entertaining or inspirational.  For example, I use #runferrisrun as one of my hashtags, so periodically a running Forrest Gump shows up in a post just for fun. Using Facebook, I received donations from people who aren’t local and wouldn’t otherwise have known I was running or raising funds for breast cancer research. People are so generous. I guarantee if you cast a wide net, ask early and often, and let everyone know you are raising funds for breast cancer research, you will be surprised. You’ll receive donations from people you would never have even thought to ask!”

“This year, people responded positively to weekly training run posts that included my fundraising link. I think it’s in part because people know how hard this running thing is for me. I try to remind them (and myself when I consider skipping a training day) that running isn’t hard. Fighting breast cancer, or having a friend or family member who is fighting breast cancer, is HARD. And it’s life-changing. Running a 5K isn’t always fun, and it’s a little uncomfortable for me, but I get to have brunch once I finish. It is nothing compared to what cancer patients, survivors, and their families go through.

Through my runs, I’ve raised over $8,000 for breast cancer research, including over $2,200 these last two years with Team Lynn Sage.  To me, every donation counts and every step is a step toward a cure.  My goal is to hit the $10,000 mark this year!” 

Jan’s heart and passion for running to raise breast cancer research funds bring incredible energy and motivation to all her team members. Join Jan and all of Team Lynn Sage for the Chicago Spring Half Marathon & 5K on May 20th. Team members not only get to rally with Jan, but receive a discounted entry fee, access to private team training runs, a Team Lynn Sage t-shirt, and race-day hospitality. Please enter discount code “LSFCT18” when you register!

If you’re not able to join us this spring, please help Jan reach her fundraising goal. As she said, every dollar and every step brings us closer to a world without breast cancer!