Before feasting on Thanksgiving dinner, hundreds of folks got up early for a run/walk in Nappanee.
The “I’m Thankful Four" run is a four mile run in memory of Kelsey Mikel, a teen killed in a car accident three years ago. This morning's run/walk kicked off at Northwood High School.
About 500 people showed up to the run, hosted by the Mikel family.
Before the race, Kelsey's father, Mark reflected on the good that has come from his daughter's tragedy. Each runner wrote also what they're thankful for on their race number.
“It's tradition for all of us to come back and honor our friend and just fellowship. Today is a day to show what we're really thankful for,” explains Megan Lengacher, Kelsey’s high school friend.
“I'm thankful for my family that I have here,” says Emily Mikel, Kelsey’s older sister, “and how much love we still have for each other and that we've been able to grow stronger through all of this, instead of let it tear us apart or down.”
Another friend of Kelsey’s expressed her thoughts on participating in Thankful Four. “It serves first of all as a reminder that life is short and to take it all in and live life to the fullest. It’s also a reminder to these high school kids that things like this do happen,” says Alison Leavitt.
“It amazes me, no matter what the weather is, people show up and support this and I think it’s actually more than just raising money for scholarships for the Northwood students,” says Mark Mikel, Kelsey’s father.
All the money raised from today's run goes to the Kelsey Mikel Memorial Foundation. The money goes to fund college scholarships. Over the last few years, more than 17-thousand dollars has been raised.
The Mikel family also encourages people to become organ donors. Kelsey’s organs were donated and helped several people.