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Amid Flying Colors, Lompoc Hospital Foundation Supporters Hit Their Stride

Annual walkathon for Lompoc Valley Medical Center tints the proceedings with a colorful change of pace

Macy Greenlee, Autumn Kane and Roberta “Bob” Strangfeld pause for a selfie at the Lompoc Hospital Foundation Colorthon on Saturday. The trio represented the Champion Center at the annual festivities. Click to view larger
Macy Greenlee, Autumn Kane and Roberta “Bob” Strangfeld pause for a selfie at the Lompoc Hospital Foundation Colorthon on Saturday. The trio represented the Champion Center at the annual festivities. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Whether participants walked or ran during the Lompoc Hospital Foundation fundraiser Saturday morning, the outcome was the same  — all finished sporting splashes of colors from head to toe.

The foundation added a twist for its annual walkathon fundraiser, instead holding a Colorthon to mark the event’s 25th year and boost participation.

As people of all ages and fitness levels traveled the course, volunteers enthusiastically showered them with nontoxic colorful powders, hitting hair, shirts, shorts and shoes.

“Oh, you’re not colorful enough,” one volunteer said before administering a vibrant remedy.

Participants included Jim Raggio, chief executive officer of Lompoc Valley Medical Center, whose title didn’t spare him from being a target for handfuls of powder or an aggressor in delivering colors of his own.

“It’s a great event,” he said. “It’s nice to see all the families out here. That’s kind of what it’s all about.”

Seeing Dr. Gil Andersen standing on the sidelines in civilian clothes, Raggio and Linual White Jr., a hospital board member, hugged the unsuspecting physician in a generous attempt to share a point of hue.

“When I walk by these color things, and they’re all clean, they’re going to get dirty or I’m going to hug them,” Raggio said. “One of the two things.”

Lompoc resident Alex Martinez, 22, stood near the finish line after completing the route, colorful rivers of perspiration pouring down his face.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I like it. It was just more inspiration because everyone’s spraying you.”

The idea to add color to the event came from Allan Hancock College student Tyler Perry, 20, who also serves on the foundation board. Perry said he suggested adding color to revive the dwindling interest in the annual walkathon.

It did. The number of entrants who pre-registered for the event more than tripled last year’s participants. Organizers don’t have final numbers, but estimated the entries topped 350 this year.

“They’re having a lot of fun,” Perry said, adding that people appreciated the Colorthon because it encompassed entire families.

Walkers and runners traveled three times along the approximately mile-long route — putting the final distance near 5 kilometers — around River Park, getting hit with colors a dozen times.

They began the day with more than 400 pounds of colorful powder.

To make the event happen, organizers lined up volunteers from Cabrillo and Lompoc high schools and the Allan Hancock College Fire Academy.

“My favorite part is the help from all the volunteers,” Perry said. “They’ve all come together and they're doing a great job.”

The foundation has launched a $2 million capital campaign to raise funds for a renovation project at the Lompoc Comprehensive Care Center, hospital spokeswoman Nora Wallace said.

The organization’s next event is a holiday home tour in December and will be followed by a golf tournament fundraiser in the spring.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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