Runners and walkers of all ages will be pounding the pavement this weekend in honor of four-year-old Oaklie Humphries. Oaklie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL, in January.
“When it’s a child, people want to help where they can,” said Lindsay Summerlin, co-organizer of the Strong as an Oak five- k run/ walk and Sprout Sprint.
Summerlin said the race is to raise awareness about childhood cancers and show their support to Oaklie and her family. As of Wednesday afternoon, Summerlin said more than 150 people had signed up for the race, and the group has already raised $10,000 through early registration, donations, sponsors, plus car decals and t-shirt sales.
“That exceed our expectations,” said Summerlin. “Any amount would help. We’re glad the community is helping out and taking hold of it. I was raised in LaGrange, whenever anything happens the community rallies around and helps out. It’s also a true testament to what a great family they [the Humphries] are,” she added.
Jacob and Whitney Humphries, Oaklie’s mom and dad, told the LaGrange Daily News in April, they were overwhelmed by all the love and support they’d received from family, friends, and even total strangers. They said it’s allowed them to focus on Oaklie’s treatment and their one year old son, Asher.
“It’s hard to wrap my mind around how good God’s been to us, mainly through his people,” said Jacob. “They’ve taken care of every need that we have. From Oaklie’s diagnosis, until now, we just haven’t had a need to consider. Words can’t express the gratitude that we have.”
Summerlin said all the money raised from the run, plus car decals and t-shirt sales will go towards Oaklie’s medical account, to help pay for treatments, plus traveling expenses to and from Atlanta, where Oaklie receives chemotherapy. Those trips were once a week, but will soon turn in to overnight stays for the family as the little girl transitions to a different form of chemotherapy.
Summerlin also hopes runner and walkers will learn a bigger message from this weekend’s race.
“Just the awareness of childhood cancers and the need for a cure,” she said. ” We need a cure so one day children won’t have to suffer from cancer.”
The Strong as an Oak 5-k walk/run and Sprout Sprint will be this Saturday at the Granger Park Tennis Courts on Hunnicutt Place in LaGrange. Registration is $30 through tonight, and $35 dollars on Saturday. Sign in on race day starts at 7 a.m., with the run/walk beginning at 8 am.
The organization still needs volunteers. To help out, register for the race, and for more information, visit the Facebook page Strong As An Oak 5k and Fun Run. Or call Lindsay Summerlin at 706-957-1290.