The journey to better health begins with a single step, and the support of a caring team. That’s the idea behind the Relay 4 Community Health.

The United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area and the Piedmont Family YMCA invite you to join in the fun on June 30, 5-7 pm at Albemarle High School. Enjoy an island-themed celebration and help us raise funds to promote health equity and support the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Runners and walkers of all abilities, age 8+, will form teams from families, businesses, clubs, neighborhoods, friends, or other groups. Each runner completes a half-mile leg then passes the baton to a teammate. Each walker completes a quarter-mile leg and passes the baton.

All participants who complete a leg of the Relay will receive a race shirt and a free one-week membership to the Piedmont Family YMCA. There will be prizes for winning teams in several different divisions.

Afterward, there will be a celebration with music, prizes, and fun kid activities. Feast on Pearl Island Food and cool off with Kona Ice. Kids can frolic on the moon bounce and waterslide.

Want to enter a team of four in the relay? It’s easy to register online.

Why did the United Way and the Y form a partnership for this year’s relay?

“The Relay 4 Community Health seemed like a natural fit as we both promote equity and access to community health for underserved populations,” said Jessica Maslaney, CEO of the Piedmont Family YMCA.  “For many race events, fees can be a barrier. Partnering with United Way on this initiative, we were able to provide scholarships for those unable to afford the cost of a local race. In addition, by providing divisions, such as ‘Friends and Family,’ we promote activity for all ages. Win-win!”

Need help managing Type 2 diabetes or reducing your risk factors? Check out the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. A portion of the relay’s proceeds go to support this program.

Research has shown that programs like this reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58%. Participants receive 12 months of help from a lifestyle coach, as well as peer support.

The goal is to eat healthier and adopt a more active lifestyle. The program fee is based on household income, and the Y offers substantial scholarships. To enroll, you must be 18 or older, overweight (with a BMI of 25 or higher) and at high risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. You don’t have to be a YMCA member.

“So far, we have served 43 individuals through six cohorts,” Maslaney said. “Average weight loss is 5.7%. The goal is 5%. We are the highest in the state of Virginia! And average physical activity is 189.9 minutes. The goal is 150 minutes per week.”

The United Way supports several community health initiatives, including its own Prescription Relief program, which provides free medications for low income, uninsured persons with long term, chronic illnesses.

Get your team together and REGISTER today!

Thank you to our Relay 4 Community Health Sponsors: