2022 Cupid’s Chase 5K kicks off for another year in Mesilla
Cupid’s Chase 5K spreads the love, raises money to help people with disabilities
MESILLA – Each February, the Cupid’s Chase 5K is held in communities across the country to raise money for the local nonprofit chapters of Community Options.
Community Options seeks to raise funds and awareness to support housing and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. The Cupid’s Chase celebrates the founding of Community Options in 1989.
This Saturday, the annual Cupid’s Chase 5K, which begins and ends at the Mesilla Plaza, brought out community members from all walks of life. For many, participating in the 5K has become a tradition to stay fit while raising money for a good cause.
Kiana and Robert Lopez are two of these participants.
They met around 2012, having their first date on Valentine’s Day that year. In 2018, Kiana attended her first Cupid’s Chase and invited Robert to the 5K. He made sure it was a special day.
“I had gotten a T-shirt that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ so I coordinated with the organizers of the Cupid’s Chase, and at the end when they held the awards, I surprised her with it. It worked out,” he said of the engagement.
The Lopez couple, now married, participated in their fourth Cupid’s Chase this year, bringing family members to help advocate for the cause. They hope to come back year after year to create more memories and raise more money.
Cupid’s Chase organizers Mike Martinez and Naomi Olivas have been part of 14 nationwide Cupid’s Chase events.
“This is our first year as directors — actually organizing the run from start to finish. We’ve always been a part of it; it’s something we’ve done nationwide for our agency (Community Options) since 2007.” Olivas said.
“We support people with developmental disabilities, and provide residential and employment services to our individuals (in Las Cruces and El Paso). Community access also, and in-home services.” Martinez said.
The goal for the fundraiser was $15,000, and there has been at least $9,300 raised so far, according to their website.
“All of those proceeds go back into our programs — so back into the homes, purchase supplies for Christmas parties, furniture, or whatever the individuals need. One year we opened a computer lab for them to use to build résumés to try to get jobs, and things like that. All the money, everything goes right back to them,” Olivas added.