8th Annual JAXfit 5k benefits Acadia Family Center

addiction awarenessFrom left to right, JAX Addiction Researcher Elissa Chesler, JAX Employee Fitness Center Administrator Maegan Haney, AFC Board Chair Sam Hamil, AFC Faculty Clara Baker, and JAX Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Katy Longley.


The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a nonprofit biomedical research institution, held the 8th annual JAXfit 5k walk/run on Saturday, July 13. The goal of this year’s event is to increase awareness in the local community about addiction.   

190 people participated in the race. Erik Knickerbocker and Beth Dumont received first place overall, with times of 18:25 and 19:54, respectively.

The JAXfit 5k is a part of the JAX employee wellness initiative. The event brings together employees and families from local employers, such as The Jackson Laboratory, MDI Biological Laboratory, MDI Hospital, and others. Entry fees and donations from the event are donated to a local charity whose goals align with that of the event.

This year, the event raised $2,590, which was donated to Acadia Family Center (AFC). AFC is a center in Southwest Harbor that provides out-patient treatment, education, and prevention services for individuals of all ages, families, and communities affected by the use of alcohol, drugs, other addictive substances, and/or a mental health disorder.

Nonprofits on Mount Desert Island, like JAX and AFC, have formed an important collaboration in the local community to raise awareness and education about addiction. JAX’s addiction research aims to shed light on the genetic and neurobiological causes of addiction, along with the impact of environmental influences. AFC, the only agency on Mount Desert Island licensed for the outpatient treatment of addiction, aims to eliminate the stigma and shame associated with substance use and mental health disorders.

 Breaking the cycle of addiction, a deepening and deadly public health crisis.Addiction is a chronic illness, with genetic, environmental and social aspects. JAX researchers are at the forefront of understanding the genetic factors involved in individuals’ vulnerability to addiction. addiction-research