ICHS will honor Alan Sugiyama at Lunar New Year 5K on Feb 26

Alan Sugiyama and Teresita Batayola at the inaugural Lunar New Year 5K in Bellevue
Alan Sugiyama and ICHS CEO Teresita Batayola at the inaugural Lunar New Year 5K in Bellevue in 2016

Alan Sugiyama, a long-time Asian American community leader who passed away on January 2 after a courageous two-year public battle with cancer, will be honored at the second annual Lunar New Year 5K on Sunday, February 26 in Shoreline.

The event is sponsored by International Community Health Services (ICHS), which provided affordable medical and dental care to over 28,300 patients in more than 50 different languages last year. Proceeds from the event will go toward supporting uncompensated care.

“We were deeply saddened by Al’s death, but we know that his compassionate spirit will be with us on the day of our event,” ICHS Foundation Director Ron Chew said. “For participants who want to honor Al, we’ll be handing out Superman capes emblazoned with Al’s name inside the insignia.”

In 2016, ICHS organized the first-ever Lunar New Year 5k at the Mercer Slough Nature Park in Bellevue to bring attention to its new Bellevue medical-dental clinic. The sold-out event attracted over 300 runners and walkers, raising over $21,000 to support uncompensated patient care. This year’s 5K will be on the Shoreline Interurban Trail and will start several blocks from the ICHS Shoreline clinic, which opened in September 2014.

Despite undergoing aggressive treatment for cancer of the pancreas and esophagus, Sugiyama participated in last year’s 5K, gathering his friends to join him. He even managed to outpace several of them. The Seattle Channel filmed Sugiyama at the event, producing a short piece on his life for CityStream, which aired in August.

At the time of his death, Sugiyama had already begun gathering an even wider circle of friends to join him at the second annual Lunar New Year 5K. Sugiyama was a fierce champion of affirmative action and increased funding support for communities of color. He is perhaps best known for the 30 years he spent as founder and director of the Center for Career Alternatives, a multi-ethnic job training program serving low-income residents in King and Snohomish Counties. He was the first Asian American to serve on the Seattle School Board.

The mile markers on the 5K course will bear an image of Sugiyama as Superman. That image and the insignia on the cape were designed by Eugene Tagawa, Sugiyama’s brother-in-law.

The Lunar New Year is traditionally the most significant holiday for many Asian Pacific Islanders, marking the return of Spring and a special time for families to offer wishes for health and prosperity in the coming year. The Year of the Rooster begins on January 28, 2017.

Registration for the Lunar New Year 5K is available online. Registration is $30. A free commemorative t-shirt will be included along with the registration fee. The event will be free to children under 13 and those over the age of 70. Seniors between the ages of 60 and 69 will receive a $5 discount.

The event is open to walkers and runners. Strollers and leashed pets are permitted. The race starts at 9:30 a.m. The start of the 5K will be launched with a colorful lion dance performance. The event features chip-timing by BuDu Racing, awards in different age categories and for best costumes, raffle prizes and post-race food and beverages.

For information about the event or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Christine Loredo at 206-788-3672 or christinel@ichs.com. For more information, visit www.ichs.com/5k.

Register for the ICHS Lunar New Year 5K