CRESTVIEW—Taylor Nelson achieved one of his lifelong goals when he graduated with the Crestview High School Class of 2012. Less than a week later, he died of complications of several diseases, including cystic fibrosis. The Nov. 3 local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation 5K run/walk fundraiser commemorates Taylor.
This year, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s nationwide annual Great Strides effort joins the local Race for Lace fundraiser, named for Baker student Lacey Adams — who has cystic fibrosis — and moves to downtown Crestview.
“We’re expecting 500 people or more,” said event co-chair Laurie Hutchison, whose 4-year-old daughter Meagan also has the disease. “It’s pretty exciting, especially for downtown Main Street. It’s a big deal for Crestview.”
The 5-kilometer (3-mile) race has several components, broadening its appeal to people of varying physical capability, according to Hutchison, co-chairperson Kristy Kolmetz and Lindsay Adams, Lacey’s mother.
“We are excited to be able to bring people to Crestview for a 5K and find a cure for CF at the same time,” the organizers stated in a news release. “This year, we have running, walking, team and stroller divisions. There will also be a kids’ fun run.”
Claudia Werner, senior development director for the North Florida regional Cystic Fibrosis Foundation office in Jacksonville, said Taylor’s mother, Jennifer Nelson, asked to help with fundraising efforts.
“I was just blown away that this woman has just lost her son and she was considering fundraising for our cause,” Werner said. “I asked her if this is what she wanted to do and she replied, ‘I just can’t let another child die.’”
Werner said she had gotten to know Taylor during his illness and, like many others, found him inspirational. Although he was wheelchair-bound and used oxygen, Taylor returned to Crestview from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital for his senior prom, and again a few weeks later for First Baptist Church’s senior dinner and his graduation.
“I came to see Taylor graduate and then to lose him days later, this is an opportunity to make a huge difference,” Werner said. “I’m like Jenn: We can’t let another kiddo go this way. We are so close to finding a cure for this disease.”
“This year alone, a new drug entered the market that shows great promise to those living with CF,” Adams said in an email. “That is one reason the Race for Lace has now teamed up with Great Strides, the nationwide campaign to raise money and awareness of CF.”
Adams said the Nov. 3 events would include games and a slide for registered kids, an after-run breakfast and live music, including a performance by the Crestview High School jazz band. Awards will be presented for age groups with five-year increments and for teams, costumes and stroller categories. Boston butts will be available for $30.
Door prizes include a beach-view condo vacation, a New Orleans vacation, Okaloosa Island Pier fishing passes, a Destin fishing trip for two, a Lewis & Company diamond necklace and local gift cards, organizers said.
The chairpersons said this year’s goal is to raise $30,000, of which more than $12,000 in sponsorships is pledged.
“While having all this fun, we are finding a cure for children and adults living with cystic fibrosis,” Adams said.
Want to go?
The Race for Lace/Great Strides 5K run is Nov. 3, with check-in at 8 a.m., race at 9 a.m. and walk at 9:05 a.m.
Breakfast, live entertainment and activities are 9:30 to noon.
Registration costs $25, $10 for the kids’ fun run, payable at www.active.com. Discounted registration of $20 ends Oct. 21. The first 300 to sign up before Oct. 20 get a free T-shirt. Check-in is at Main Street Medical, 369 N. Main St.
Contact Lindsay Adams, 537-9298, Kristy Kolmetz, 826-3706, or Laurie Hutchison, 582-4738, for more details.
Visit www.cff.org for more information about cystic fibrosis.