Memorial 5K Glow Run and Walk, Oct 14, Elk Rapids benefiting Hospice of Northern Michigan

Race director, Michelle Gallagher, welcomed 171 runners and walkers to the first annual Memorial 5K Glow Run and Walk, Oct 14, at the Elk Rapids Amvets, for the benefit of Hospice of Michigan, Northern Michigan (HOM). The race was open to pets and strollers, and there were many pets and  lots of strollers as folks honored the memory of a relative or friend. By fundraising, runners and walkers helped  to continue to meet the needs of all patients and their families. The funds raised helped in numerous ways. Not only will the funds ensure those left behind receive the help they need to cope, they also provide additional support for the unmet needs of patients and their families in Northwest Michigan. Michelle is the Philanthropy Specialist for Hospice of Michigan. The Glow Run was the first fundraiser in Northern Michigan. Michelle says; “The care that our clinical staff gives to our patients, motivates me to work harder to raise money so they can care for anyone needing our services. The money raised from the Glow Run will support our Open Access program which ensures that anyone who needs hospice care can receive it, no matter their age, diagnosis or ability to pay. The money raised here tonight will be used by our Traverse City team which serves Antrim, Grand Traverse, and Leelanau counties.  The support for this event has been overwhelming. We can’t wait for next year.”

Presenting sponsor was the DTE Energy Foundation. Additional sponsors were Grand Traverse Pie Company, Bill Marsh Automotive, MICPA, Orchard Creek Health Care, Blue Cross-Blue Shield, VillaTraverse Point, The Place-Promotional Products, Bloxsom Roofing, Consumers Energy, Covell Funeral Home, Hairport Salon & Spa, Lakeside Properties Real Estate, La Senorita, Lucky’s Market, Meijer, Cherry Central, North Bay Produce, Nifty Things, Northwoods Soda, Real Estate One of Elk Rapids, and Stuff & Such.  Cone Corral, Chef Charles, and Torch Lake Café  donated the after-race Pizza. Media sponsors were Midwestern Broadcasting, WTCM, WCCW and Z93. The incredible result of this event; over $17,000 was raised by sponsors, runners, and people who simply showed up and made a donation.  The Memorial 5K Glow Run results can be found at this link; Memorial Glow Run Results    .

Michelle and her band of merry volunteers passed out glow sticks enabling runners to decorate themselves in brightly lit colors. Prizes were given out in age groups and to the brightest runners, walkers and pets. A Memorial Tree was located inside the AMVETS building where participants could write a message, a name, or place a picture on a leaf on the tree to remember a special someone.

Many participants had powerful stories to tell about loved ones or friends, but my race “winner” was Amy Beehler. Amy was not the fastest or the most colorful, but through Amy’s generosity, 40 of her friends and relatives entered the event. Amy is a Breast Cancer survivor. She discovered Breast Cancer in April of 2012 and experienced surgery and reconstruction. Amy’s message to others follows; “Don’t ever give up. Prayers are always with you.” One of Amy’s friends is Judy Standerfer of Elk Rapids. Judy’s daughter, Angela, passed away three years ago at age 41. Angela had been in hospice care for a week and a half before she passed.  During Angela’s brief hospice stay, the family was offered “anything we needed” by HOM. “HOM came every time we called for special needs.” Judy says; “Do the best you can for the patient’s comfort and needs. HOM helps do this.” Beverly Johnson, 60, of Grayling, used to work for HOM as a nurse. She used to be a smoker. Now, she loves to run for better health. Anastasia Rothwell, 50, of Elk Rapids, entered in memory of her father who passed away last year. October 13 would have been his birthday. He used hospice in Pennsylvania. He passed way four hours after she arrived to see him. Running helps clear her head. Carey Carlson was at the event on behalf of WTCM Radio and because she was part of the organizing committee of three people. Her good friend passed gently with the help of HOM last Christmas Eve. “HOM brought peace to his journey.” Betsy Fletcher, ran the 5K. Betsy ran in honor of her mother. Betsy is training for a triathlon.

Judy Vindici, is the Philanthropy Director for Arbor Hospice, which is an affiliate of Hospice of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Judy came all the way from Ann Arbor to Elk Rapids to help with the event. Tanya Kilpatrick is a RN Case manager with 16-18 clients. She provides comfort for families and patients and education for end of life. Exercise helps keep her healthy. Shelly, 47, and Rex, 8, Gray of Lake Ann participated. Shelly is a HOM social worker and her son, Rex, is a third grader. Shelly is running in memory of her mother, Maryann, who passed away nine years ago. Katherine Holl, 62, is the Grief Support Manager at HOM with 24 clients per month. Katherine is running in memory of her brother-in-law, Paul Tegel. Running provides Katherine with the opportunity of good health and to enjoy nature. Connie Benak-Costa is a RN for HOM. At 59, she is running the 5K. Connie is a Breast Cancer survivor. Connie is also on a rowing team with other women who are Breast Cancer survivors.The women practice on Mondays and have a big race coming up on October 28. Connie has run the Chicago Marathon. Connie says: “Enjoy each day.” Janisse Ramos, 26, of Ellsworth, has been running for one year and this is her first race. Janisse worked at an East Lake assisted living home.  Lynell Courtad helped with kids face painting. She is a good friend of race director, Michelle Gallagher. Marie Walker and Ted Livernois donated the use of their photo booth. HOM took care of Marie’s dad in 2013. You can find out more about the photo booth at www.westbayphotobooth.com .

Michelle Gallagher and her friendly band of volunteers hopes you will join them at next year’s event. Enjoy the beauty of running in Elk Rapids at night. But remember to always ask your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Your author, Mickey Fivenson, has trained over 150,000 miles in 48 years of running. He has completed over 60 marathons. Mickey’s doctors credit running  toward surviving several strokes. If you’d like Mickey to cover your race or if you need tips on training, contact mickey at telecomclassifiedads dot

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