Catching Fireflies 2019: Bringing light to the community

FS Series hosts its 8th annual Catching Fireflies 5k on May 17, 2019, benefiting the local Cancer Shucks foundation.


Staff Photo by Allie Mariotte

Sophomore, Jordyn Brautman trains for Catching Fireflies Race.

Gabrielle Donaldson, Sports Editor

FS Series, a locally owned business that hosts races for “Charity, Fitness, and Fun,” is hosting its 8th annual Catching Fireflies 5k Run/Walk on May 17th, 2019.

The Catching Fireflies race has a unique aura surrounding it that sets it apart from any other 5k race. The event is held at night and attracts hundreds of participants from the Triangle Area. The course is lined with luminaries, and participants are accessorized with glowsticks to give the event a “glowing” effect.

However, the real glowing effect behind the event is its purpose.

FS Series Event Leader, Brent Dorenkamp, who also serves as the Head Athletic Trainer at Wakefield High School, has much pride in the purpose and distinct nature.

“It’s the only family-friendly Friday night race in Raleigh with a lit luminary course,” Dorenkamp said.

The race is welcoming and inclusive of all people and truly brings our community together.

Tony Calabria, English teacher at Wakefield High School and advisor of the Just Think First Club, is an active supporter of the race.

“My Just Think First club helps with it,” Calabria said. “It’s a nice, fun evening event to do with [your] family.”

The Catching Fireflies race mission is to honor participants’ family members and/or friends who have battled cancer. Support is not limited to being an active participant in the race, but racers and donors are able to purchase a luminary in honor of a loved one to light the course for others to follow. A portion of the proceeds from the race and 100% of the luminary purchases go to Cancer Shucks, a local foundation that provides support to individuals diagnosed with and receiving treatment for all types of cancer in the local community surrounding Wake Forest, NC.

“It’s about doing something bigger than yourself,” Dorenkamp said. “You’re supporting something that continues to keep giving.”

Cancer Shucks assists with everyday duties that the afflicted individual’s family must deal with. They prepare meals, clean homes, provide transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, yard maintenance, and even take children to their extracurricular activities.  

It’s about doing something bigger than yourself”

— Dorenkamp

This year’s race will be record-breaking as more than 750 runners of all ages will participate. The cost of participation is $18 for ages 13 and under, and $30 for ages 14 and over. If you are unable to take part in the race, you may still donate to the cause on the registration page. Courtesy of FS Series, by using the code wakefieldfamilyvscancer2019, you will receive 25% off of your fee.

Alex Green, a senior from the Just Think First club, is proud to volunteer for this year’s race.

“It just feels good to be a part of something the whole school is a part of,” Green said. “[participants] are able to race against each other… and do something for a good cause.”

The first 750 racers to finish will be awarded a finisher’s medal and all participants will be given an official 2019 Catching Fireflies tee shirt.

“Come out, have fun, and make memories,” Dorenkamp said. “It’s fun for everyone!”

Ready, set, glow!