About the Cream City 5K

In 2003, Jesse Pagels, a professional trumpet player and runner, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. After undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, and a bone marrow transplant he was cured of the Leukemia. Unfortunately, the Leukemia treatment had an unintended consequence. In late 2004, Jesse began developing pulmonary fibrosis in his lungs. By 2006 he could no longer play the trumpet or run, and as the years passed, his condition grew worse. Daily tasks grew increasingly difficult. Eventually, his lung function decreased to the point where he needed to use supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day, and in 2012 he was placed on a lung transplant list. Thankfully, in August 2013 Jesse received a call from his transplant center that they had a matching set of lungs for him and he received a double lung transplant. Because of this gift of life Jesse is once again a runner and trumpet player.

In October of 2015, Jesse founded the non-profit Cream City 5K as a way to raise awareness and support organ, eye, and tissue donation. Proceeds from the Cream City 5K will be donated to Versiti Organ and Tissue, a federally designated organ procurement organization supporting the transplant community in eastern Wisconsin, as well as other organizations that support organ donation throughout Wisconsin. Since the first Cream City 5K in April of 2016, the Cream City 5K has grown to over 1,100 participants, volunteers and spectators and donated over $60,000 to support organ, tissue and eye donation throughout Wisconsin.