By Sandy Bond
Saturday was a beautiful and balmy day for a road race (dirt road, that is) through the beautiful hills of the tiny town of Lowry, for the Fourth Annual Gumbo Gopher 5K Run/Walk.
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
This was Janel Sanders Brockel’s favorite Bible verse, her mom and dad Jan and Carroll Brockel said.
Janel lost her fight to ovarian cancer, but she never lost the faith.
The race was first started to raise money for ovarian cancer research in memory of Sonja Huber, who was one of Janel’s best friends.
Although considered a huge success four years ago, the support has only grown.
Individuals, businesses and organizations helped sponsor the race, with 160 official Gumbo Gopher 5K shirts virtually flying off the shelves, according to Tanna Huber.
The fundraiser continues to support the New Hope Foundation, and each year along with the New Hope Foundation they pick a family in need of financial support that is facing cancer from those candidates submitted:
Kyah Feyereisen, the daughter of Justin and Dawn Feyereisen, a fifth grader at Mobridge-Pollock Elementary this fall, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago. She is going through her second round of chemo to shrink it as they can’t operate on it. She had to be driven to Bismarck every week for six months for these chemo treatments and goes to Minneapolis often. She is their second child of three and they are expecting their fourth in November.
Dale Schmeichel was diagnosed as having a Myxofibrosarcoma tumor in June 2013. He is the father to three children and grandfather to four grandchildren. He and his wife live in McLaughlin. Myxofibrosarcoma is a rare form of cancer that spreads quietly and seeks out soft tissue in the body.
The Feyereisen family was able to attend, as were several members of the Schmeichel family.
This year’s race started at the Luke Perman family mailbox and ended 3.1 miles northwest near the Lowry Pilgrim Community Church. Participants chose to walk, jog or race and included bicyclists, joggers pushing strollers, and even horseback riders. Jeff Beitelspacher ferried the participants out to their chosen starting point. Lyle Perman with his horse-drawn surrey followed the participants to pick up any of those who tired.
Once again, bicyclists Jayda and Kendell Sawinsky, daughters of Christine and Steve, were the first to cross the finish line. They were followed by runner Jeremiah Sanders, son of Janel and John. The Sanders family, John, Jeremiah, Jaclynn, Jenna, and grandparents Carroll and Jan turned out in force in matching T-Shirts, “Jogging for Janel.”
Walking partners for years, Lorraine Kightlinger, 82, and Melvin Huber, 88, participated in the mile walk. Melvin has been battling lymphoma with radiation and chemo, he said, and is going to beat it!