Saturday, August 16, on a rare weekend away from camp, I participated in the Patia Lynn Christensen Memorial 5K and 10K Trail Run. Patia passed away more than 5 years ago, at the age of 9, after a sudden accident. Her mother, my Red Rock Relay teammate Dawn Christensen, organizes this race annually to honor her memory. The proceeds from the run benefit The Compassionate Friends of Utah County (TCF).
So once again I left my house at 5:15 AM to meet my Red Rock teammates Sue and Helen and make the trek to Eureka, Utah for a 7:00 AM start. We barely made it – Sue and I were still attaching our timing chips to our shoes when the start was announced.
We ran the 10K trail run – which turned out to be a very difficult run. There were steep stretches – both uphill and downhill. Being ever fearful of falling on my head, I slowed way down on the steep downhills. I was feeling rather intimidated when so many other runners passed me, but once the worst was over I was able to pick up speed and make up time on the uphills. When I crossed the finish line the clock read one hour, seven minutes and some change.
No, I didn’t break any land speed records. But I feel great about making this small contribution to such a worthy cause. The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age. The Compassionate Friends were there for Dawn and her family. Now the Christensen family is actively involved in making sure other families are aware of this organization in case they ever face such tragedy.
I cannot imagine how horrible it would be to lose a child. But Patia Lynn Christensen lives on. She lives on through the organs her family saw fit to donate, saving the lives of other children. She lives on through her memorial race and the funds it raises to help the Compassionate Friends. And she lives on in the memories of those who knew and loved her.