After months of planning and executing, my family’s grassroots event, the 7th Annual Mother’s Day 5K Race for Christina, took place last Sunday, May 12.
Two months ago, I wrote the column, “How to Plan a Grassroots FA Event,” which includes our planning checklist. My family and I begin preparing four months before the race. Since the event is always on Mother’s Day, we start on our checklist in January.
Everything went according to plan based on our timeline. We felt very much in control of how our follow-ups and communications were taking place. However, there was one thing that was not under our control: Mother Nature.
Checking the weather app on our phones became a daily habit for my family and me the week of the event. The forecasts were not looking promising, calling for cold, rainy, and windy weather on Mother’s Day. Still, we weren’t going to let this bring us down and get in the way of raising awareness and funds for Friedreich’s ataxia!
My sister, Catherine, who is mostly in charge of the race, got in contact with the grassroots coordinator of the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA) a few days before the event to discuss different options for accommodating the weather. The two representatives from FARA who would be present on the day of the event said they would bring tents to set up over our volunteers who were working registration. We also worked with the coordinator to alert registrants that the event would still occur, rain or shine.
By Friday, May 10, we had tallied 94 registrants for the race. Registration on the event website was closed two days prior to the race so that we could submit final numbers to FARA and to a local running company that was in charge of supplying the bibs and the timer machine. Walk-up registration would be available to anyone who decided to run or walk at the last minute.
My family and I were uncertain about the number of people who would still attend due to the weather. We didn’t know how many would stay away, figuring their registration fee would just act as a donation to the cause. We would rather have had the support of their presence, because it is so much more meaningful.
Out of all our family and friends who were preregistered, more than half (50-plus people) showed up, even in the pouring rain! My heart was so full. I truly have amazing people in my life! The endless love and support are what I think about whenever I am having a tough day due to living with this rare disease.