The run is held in honor of Grace Holt – a young girl who took her own life four years ago. She was 15 years old and battling depression.
The event was held at the Rogue Valley Country Club this year rather than at Griffin Creek Elementary in order to handle the number of people as the run continues to grow. Around 700 people attended the run to raise awareness of teenage mental health, according to organizers.
“Packed, loud, everybody is happy and it’s a good thing to remember her by,” said Lauri Wimmer, a friend of the family who has been to previous runs. She says her oldest children used to babysit Grace and she remembers her happy, bubbly personality.
Others such as Travis Dick, who works with Grace’s mother Susan at Hedrick, has worn a chicken suit for every run as a way to bring a little joy and honor memories of Grace.
“The chicken suit – that was from wanting to have some fun from it too and Grace loved chickens,” he said.
Profits from the race go towards the Grace and Kindness scholarship fund which gives opportunities for children to enjoy enrichment programs. Since the scholarship was founded, it’s helped 100 students attend summer camps or other programs they couldn’t afford.
“It’s become something that I think is a tradition now that people look forward to and now I think kind of changing the game in terms of raising awareness on teen depression,” said Rick Hutchins, a volunteer and husband to Lisa Hutchins event director for the run.
The goal this year is to raise $35,000 to $40,000 for the scholarship. If you would like to donate, you can visit www.runwithgrace.org.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide there is help available. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
You can also text 741-741 any time to be connected to a crisis counselor.
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.