CFK launched virtual Butterfly 5K online in April – already a record-setting number of teams have joined the May 9-17 event

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (May 3, 2020) – More than 45 teams have already signed on for the 2020 CancerFree KIDS Butterfly Walk & 5K surpassing the single year record for most teams (45) set just last year in 2019.

The start of a previous live in-person CancerFee KIDS Butterfly Walk &5K (Provided)

Loveland-based CancerFree KIDS (CFK) is focused on their primary mission of funding pediatric cancer research through multiple unique events every year. This year is the 14th annual Butterfly Walk & 5K. Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic made it necessary to take this walk “virtually” for the first time.

Here’s a little bit about how it will work: people who join will complete a 5K or 1 Mile walk and creative activity between May 9-17. It is FREE, no registration fee and kids can participate too. All you need to join is on the CFK Butterfly Walk & 5K website:

Nate Krugman, who prefers the title Chief Friendship Officer over Director of Development, is the driving force behind keeping the event going virtually and on the same date in response to the COVID-19 challenges.  

“He has been the driving force behind this event,” said Kathy Garry, CFK Marketing Coordinator.


In the previous 13 years, the Butterfly Walk & 5K was held outdoors like many other 5K fundraising events. The event was scheduled to take place this year on Saturday, May 9. That was before the safe-distancing and other stop-the-spread of coronavirus restrictions were ordered. The CFK staff had to have a collective sinking of the heart hearing news of canceling events. Krugman says he’s driving this virtual event because he would do anything to help people with cancer. As a cancer survivor, his is a unique perspective. He’s noticed most cancer survivors persevere.

“I think a lot of the decision stemmed from that and listening to other people,” said Krugman explaining how CFK decided not to cancel the 2020 Butterfly Walk & 5K. “The resounding theme that I heard was cancer doesn’t stop, so we shouldn’t either.”

They were not going to cancel the Butterfly Walk. Krugman says they thought about moving the event to a later summer date; possibly in August or September. Too many unknowns about how summer would look and what continuing restrictions might look like put the kibosh on those ideas.

“That’s why we kept it on the same date,” Krugman said. “We wanted to say we’re gonna plow forward because cancer doesn’t stop, so neither do we.”

The CFK Butterfly Walk & 5K is all about inspiration and hope for the KIDS fightiing cancer (Provided) 

During the week of April 17th, CancerFree Kids launched the Virtual 2020 Butterfly Walk donor website with a revised goal to raise $75,000 compared to an original goal of raising $170K. Note: last year’s Butterfly Walk & 5K raised around $150K according to Krugman.

“We may not have a record year financially,” observed Krugman, “but we’ll have a record year of engagement with the people.”

As of Sunday, May 3, the website proved that true showing 46 teams already registered – one more than the record 45 

teams of one year ago with plenty of time for more teams to register. Registration is free and fundraising is optional, but the website reveals donations may well exceed the adjusted $75,000 goal for this year. Krugman also points to a couple reasons for success engaging the people. The event is open for May 9-17, not just one day. People have scheduling options to participate if they happen to have an obligation on May 9, they can take do their 5K on any of those days thru May 17.  Not to mention, you don’t even have to be here.

“There is no barrier, if you live in Idaho, you can still do it,” said Krugman. “I think that’s one of the benefits we’re taking advantage of.”

Hanna’s Helpers team has raised over $12K to lead the fundraising so far this year. (Previous File photo provided) 

Krugman is clear about the mission still being to raise money for the researchers. This year they had to get creative and that has helped make creativity one of the main objectives for engaging everyone, not excluding anyone in participating. When he was being treated for cancer three light bulbs lit up for him. The message was encourage, inspire and help people. Those continue to guide him during this unique opportunity of a virtual event allowing people to be creative giving encouragement, inspiration and help to people with cancer.

“People can still walk, print a bib that says who they are walking to honor,” he said. His will have his dad (just lost him to cancer) and several kids fighting cancer on it. “I’m just excited to see all the creativity that comes out of this. I’m just hoping for creative inspiration and encouragement.”

Children of Nate Krugman, CancerFree KIDS, got creative with CFK Butterfly Walk invitation left to right Harrison, Harper & Haddie Krugman (Courtesy Nate Krugman) 

Anticipation of the many creative photos and videos people will share of their own Butterfly Walk & 5K has him very excited. His own children, Harper, Harrison & Haddie displayed some creativity with their own sidewalk chalk art rendition of a Butterfly inviting others to join the CancerFree KIDS 2020 Butterfly Walk & 5K. Like many of us sheltering in place during the COVID-19 shutdown, Krugman, his wife Sarah and their three children Harrison, Harper & Haddie have been out walking together.  Just as he’s sure you have, he’s seen many families out walking during  the coronavirus restrictions.

“It’s just a great opportunity, as people are walking and running anyway, to do it with a purpose,” Krugman concluded. “They can use what they’re doing already to help people. It’s not just money, it’s showing support through creativity. Hopefully that softness in their heart will propel them to help other people who need it.”