AUSTIN, Minn. – Wednesday, May 4 — Austin High School students prove philanthropy can begin early with their 5k walk/run this month at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. The proceeds raised will support The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned breast cancer research.

Members of Austin High’s Youth Leadership Club selected The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota-Mayo Clinic, as the beneficiary of the group’s first 5k charity event called “Strides for a Cure,” set for Saturday, May 21.  Many participants have already signed up for the 5k walk/run that begins at 9 a.m.  Following the approximately 3-mile race, drawings for prizes will be held.

This Friday, May 6, is the early-signup deadline for participants to pay a $20 registration fee. After Friday, the fee will be $25 per person, including registration on race day. Bicycles, inline skates, pets, strollers and portable music devices are not allowed on the course.

“Strides for a Cure” will feature a grassy and mostly flat course through the city’s Jay C. Hormel Nature Center. The center is named after Jay Hormel, who developed the habitat when it was part of his estate. He was the son of Hormel Foods Corp.’s founder George A. Hormel.

That same estate is where Jay Hormel started The Hormel Institute in 1942 by renovating a horse barn into a state-of-the-art scientific research lab.  He gifted the Institute to the University of Minnesota and the Institute began its mission to conduct research. The Institute moved in 1960 to its present site, and in 2008 completed a nearly $24 million expansion project, tripling its lab space.

Austin High’s Youth Leadership Club is a group dedicated to community-wide service work, and earlier this year students approached club advisor Emily Hovland. Their idea was to organize a walk/run to support The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research.

“I have had people close to me impacted by this,” Hovland said, “so I was excited to help the kids get it going.”

Breast cancer is second to skin cancer as the most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States, according to the Mayo Clinic, a major collaborative research partner of The Hormel Institute.

Researchers at The Hormel Institute continue to work aggressively on their goal to make strides to control cancer as quickly as possible, and they are making progress in that fight, said Dr. Zigang Dong, Executive Director of The Hormel Institute.

“Finding answers to cancer is a collaborative effort and the support we receive from our community is truly important – it makes progress possible,” said Dong.  “For young high-school students to recognize the importance of supporting cancer research is admirable.  I deeply appreciate their hard work in organizing this event and their support.”

Who: AHS Youth Leadership Club

What: Organizing a 5k walk/run event for all ages.

Where: Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, 1301 21st St. N.E., Austin.

When: 9 a.m. Saturday, May 21, with registration before an 8:40 a.m. race kickoff.

Why: Raise money for The Hormel Institute’s world-renowned breast cancer research in Austin.

Cost: $20 per person by this Friday, May 6, or $25 per person after that, including day of race

Registration: Available online at:

Strides For a Cure


Gail Dennison

Director, Public Relations & Development

The Hormel Institute

507-437-9604; 507-351-0957 (cell)

Emily Hovland

Teacher/Advisor for

Austin High Youth Leadership Club