Griffin Hospital: Creating a happy, healthy community

For Griffin Hospital, it’s not just about providing care to those who need it, but working to keep people out of the hospital in the first place.

The Valley hospital’s sixth annual 5K Walk/Run, to benefit the Center for Cancer Care is Saturday, Oct. 18, is just one way that Griffin is working in the community to promote wellness, all for a good cause.

The first Griffin 5k took place on the Center for Cancer Care’s first anniversary, as a way to celebrate.

“We wanted to make this event a healthy event,” Christian Meagher, of Griffin Hospital said. “We didn’t want it to just be an open house where people mill around — part of good health is getting out and getting fit. As we work to make our patients better, here is a way for everyone in the community to make themselves better.”

For the past few years, the event has helped raise $50,000 to $60,000 for the center, helping provide services to cancer patients in need. Those services could range from transportation needs, wigs, massages and much more.

“The Griffin 5K started as an effort to bring a fun, healthy activity to the area and developed into a fund-raiser,” Meagher said.

The event averages about 500 runners and walkers, becoming a place for cancer survivors and the community to gather.

The 5k has also become a part of Griffin’s own employee wellness program, as well as part of wellness programs for other area companies

“Our employees embrace the idea of building camaraderie with each other,” Meagher said. “Fall is a great time to get out and do some active stuff.”

Many teams form among hospital employees. Other companies to get involved in the 5k through wellness programs include Centrix Dental and Tomra, both of Shelton, and Cooper Surgical Trumbull.

“Everybody is happy to insure their employees but it won’t work unless you also encourage those employees to be healthy,” Meagher said.

Wellness is key, Meagher said. At Griffin, the WINFIT program (Wellness Initiatives for Improved Tomorrows) offers workout classes for employees after work and discounts at gym, as well as encouraging participation in other area walks and runs, like Relay for Life.

“We are working to be good partners in the community and helping out these organizations that need help,” Meagher said.

Ready to run

Walkers, runners and children are welcome at the Oct. 18 event.

Starting in the cancer center’s parking lot at 350 Seymour Ave. in Derby, this fun, non-competitive event will feature entertainment and post-event refreshments for all participants and their family members. Area cancer survivors are also invited to celebrate the event at a free survivors' reception that offers food and free massages.

Participants can walk or run individually, or may form a team with their family, friends and co-workers. Participants may also collect pledges or purchase a commemorative sign to honor or memorialize a loved one. These signs will be displayed on the day of the event.

While a 5k may be intimidating for some, Meagher encourages all to give it a try and promises the course isn’t so bad.

“Surprisingly, we found a place in the Valley that’s not too hilly,” he said.

Check-in for the event begins at 7:30 a.m., with the walk/run scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Pre-registration is required, and the first 500 registered participants will receive long sleeve t-shirts. The 5K registration fee will increase from $25 to $30 after Oct. 4.

Individuals and teams can register online at For more information, call 203.732.7431 or e-mail