Saturday, May 9, 2009
Walk for Those Who No Longer Can
Today was the eighth annual Jim Schoemehl 5k run/walk for ALS in Webster Groves. A run of this length is a fairly common occurrence, but what makes this one so special is that it is put together entirely by the senior marketing students at the high school. The students set up a website for information and registration, gathered sponsors, came up with the route, and took care of all the advertising and marketing, including design and printing of the t-shirts. Arriving at the school at 6:00 a.m. this morning, they readied the registration tables, marked the route and set up water stations at each mile marker. What an unbelievable way for the kids to take classroom learning and put it to a practical and beneficial use.
Half of the money raised goes to a local organization which provides assistance to those fighting ALS, and the other half goes to a local resident who has been diagnosed with ALS. This year's recipient is Barry Kurre, a Kirkwood Vietnam Veteran. Once the students met Barry, this run went way beyond being an assignment for a grade. As they saw the debilitating toll ALS has taken on Barry's life, they began to see the race as a challenge to make more money than any other year so that they could help make the lives of ALS patients a little easier.
Barry was brought to the high school parking lot by ambulance. At first I thought a runner had been injured, as I didn't know he was coming or even what his condition was at this point. The runners and walkers and student volunteers all gathered around for the presentation of the check to his family. If you needed a visual to understand what this disease does to a person, it was abundantly clear today. I didn't hear a final total on monies raised, but I watched as they presented Barry and his family with a check for over $18,000. And I thanked God for a school that has found a creative and fun way to think outside the box and take learning to the streets.