To the Editor:
In January 2012, my life changed forever when I received a diagnosis I had never heard of before that day.
I was diagnosed with Wegeners Granulomatosis, a very rare auto immune disorder that only affects 1 in 30,000 people. If not diagnosed, within five months, Wegeners can lead to organ failure and even death.
I was very lucky to have found the doctors at Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, who saved my life.
After my diagnosis, a friend, Jessica Hayden, contacted me. She told me she would do anything to help me spread awareness. After a few e-mails back and forth, Jessica Hayden, Becky Sutherland, Soni Henry, Mattie Stoops and my mom, Becky Mace-Jacob, decided to have a 5K walk/run in my honor.
When we started planning in February, no one realized what a big event this would end up being. When we asked for registration forms, we got registration forms.
By the deadline for early registration, we had received more than 250 forms. The walk/run was to take place May 19, at Forest Park.
When I got to the park at 7:30 a.m., on the big day, I was hit by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and happiness. The first thing I noticed was a line had already formed for late registrants.
There were also signs saying Wegeners Awareness Warriors. I was so proud knowing all of this was happening because five friends (and many others) got together wanting to show they love me and wanted to help spread awareness for Wegeners, which is a part of the Vasculitis Foundation.
My friends worked so hard together to make this a success. They received donations from local businesses, they placed advertising on the news, and they made sure there were two stories in two valley papers. They truly made it a huge success, with more than 350 people showing up.
I can't think of a way to say thank you that seems sufficient for how they made me feel. I will always remember the day of the first Wegeners Awareness Warriors 5K Walk/Run. I wish I could thank each runner, walker, business owner, friend, family member, and supporter individually but that's impossible.
Please know that each of you touched my heart that day. I will never be able to repay you for your kindness.
I do want to say a special thanks to the Brazil City Police Department for providing security and protection the day of the event. It was appreciated and your kindness did not go unnoticed.
I do want to let the top 25 walkers/runners know their finish times. I know if I was one, I would want to know.
Again, thanks for showing your support and great job Warriors. We hope to see you all next year.
The following is a list of the top 25 results from the Wegener's Awareness Warriors 2012 5K:
1. Kylee Thacker 20:33.78
2. Brandon Sneath 20:55.27
3. Jeff Walker 21:20.80
4. Marlon Query 22:40.78
5. Joe Almone 22:57.27
6. Stacey Smith 24:08.08
7. William Carlin 24:08.86
8. Jake Bennett 24:12.59
9. Kevin Schafer 24:22.14
10. Caleb Escott 24:23.66
11. Sara Bolinger 24:25.01
12. Nicholas Lizanich 24:34.32
13. Corey Laue 25:26.69
14. Ryan Rogers 25:31.04
15. Autumn Sheese 25:32.64
16. Heather Wallace 26:12.14
17. Jennifer Jones 26:25.71
18. Zac Sheese 26:27.18
19. Kristin Phillips 26:34.86
20. Reyanne Laue 26:37.87
21. Ryan Turner 26:53.52
22. Shandra Walker 27:05.21
23. Rob Turner 27:06.70
24. Jordan Tracy 27:08.89
25. Craig Cook 27:41.65