Runners bask in glow of Ciara’s Light

Runners hit the road during the Chasing Ciara’s Light road race Saturday. — Robert Sample photo

Ciara O’Driscoll’s smile, her joyous and inspiring nature, may never be forgotten — and the proof was the hundreds, of all ages, who joined together at Great Hollow Lake Saturday to honor her memory.

The second annual Chasing Ciara’s Light 5k/12k Trail Race and Kids Fun Run, which raised funds for Ciara’s Light Foundation started by her family after her passing in early 2017, featured food, music, face painting, a photo booth, bounce house and raffles as well as the Kids’ Fun Run.

“It was surreal, but it also comforting,” said Ciara’s mother, Lori O’Driscoll. “It offered us reassurance that so many cherish Ciara’s memory, and she continues to inspire others. Ciara loved helping others and this event allows us to continue to do that while carrying on her legacy.”

Ciara’s Light Foundation was established in memory of 12-year-old Ciara O’Driscoll, who died on Jan. 16, 2017, from SUDEP (sudden unexplained death in epilepsy) and Dravet syndrome.

The foundation’s mission is to provide services and opportunities that improve the quality of life for individuals and families afflicted with special needs and life-threatening medical conditions.

Aidan O’Driscoll runs in honor of his sister, Ciara, during Saturday’s Chasing Ciara’s Light event at Great Hollow Lake.

While her heart remains heavy dealing with the loss of her daughter, O’Driscoll was inspired by all those who attended the event. She said that Monroe Soccer Club (MSC) officials moved practice times and urged its participants to take the morning to run in support of Aidan, an MSC player and his family. Monroe Lions fifth, sixth and seventh grade teams all did the same.

That led to not only the sea of green shirts representing the race but also a flood of red, from soccer club members to Monroe Lions to Masuk High Football, covering the roadway for this benefit run.

“It is one of the most incredible things I’ve seen,” said Lori. “Seeing that much support from our community is overwhelming.”

In the 12K race, George Buchanan placed first, followed by Ryan Glick. In the 5K, Oliver Irving placed first, with Emerson Carlson the runner-up.

In all, the run raised more than $18,000 — well more than the foundation’s $15,000 goal. And the funds raised will go toward two annual scholarships at Masuk High School — the Ciara O’Driscoll Memorial Scholarship for Special Education, a $2,500 award to a graduating senior pursuing special education; and the Ciara O’Driscoll Memorial Scholarship, a $2,000 award to a graduating senior with special needs to pursue their post-secondary school endeavors.

In addition to other programs, the funds will also help support the Unified Dance at Dance Workshop in Monroe (Registration is open, and classes begin Oct. 6). O’Driscoll said the plan is to expand the Unified Dance program to other studios in the state.

 

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