Spoke with Pat Tucker yesterday about Saturday’s sixth annual Cady Tucker Run in the Spirit. After an impressive year of community support, total donations since the race began in 2012 have reached $19,800.
The Medal Stand: Big strides for Cady Tucker Run
The annual Cady Tucker Run in the Spirit 5-mile relay, 5k walk/run, 5-mile run and kids fun run enters its sixth year this Saturday, and several guest speakers and participants will be in attendance to help further the cause of the run.
Before the race, Mike Connolly of Idaho Falls will share his story. Connolly, who works at the Idaho National Laboratory, was skiing in the backcountry in Grand Teton National Park in March when he went into cardiac arrest. While rescue personnel were en route, his friends performed CPR. Rescue personnel used an automated defribrillator to shock him one time and he was revived.
Pat Tucker, mother of Cady Tucker, learned about Connolly’s rescue through Facebook and knew right away that she wanted to invite him to this year’s run.
“I knew that would be tremendously inspiring,” Pat said Wednesday by phone. “It turned out one of our board members works with him. He’s spoken in Jackson Hole before and in the region but this will be the first time for him to tell his story in Idaho Falls.”
Connolly’s story hits home for Pat, who lost Cady in August 2002 in a three-vehicle head on collision. Pat said once emergency responders arrived at the scene of the crash, the EMT assigned to 11 year-old Cady was told by a bystander who did not feel a pulse that Cady was already gone. Cady received no emergency treatment, and Pat said CPR and an automated external defribrillator (AED) like the one that saved Connolly could have saved Cady.
Pat is president of PAID (Parents Against Impaired Driving), a nonprofit the Tucker family formed to raise awareness about the need for AEDs and preparedness for medical emergencies including CPR training. Among the many activities Cady enjoyed was track, and the Run in the Spirit began in 2012 as a fundraiser for PAID. All proceeds go toward purchasing AEDs for District 91 and 93 schools, and CPR and AED demonstrations will take place after Saturday’s race.
“Through the legacy of this run and the donations to this run, Cady has life after death,” Pat said. “That’s the message that I really want people to know: how important it is as a community to work together toward a culture of caring.”
Among those traveling to participate in Saturday’s race are Jan Kallunki Stennick of Portland, Ore., and Kelly Barbour-Conerty of Urbana, Ill., who are both New York Marathon finishers. Pat, who ran the New York Marathon in 2014 and 2015, met Kallunki Stennick and Barbour-Conerty through a virtual training group for the marathon. Barbour-Conerty, who also attended last year’s Run in the Spirit, lost her 15 year-old daughter Lexi in a rollover crash and is the author of the book, The Grieving Parents Club.
“I never thought she’d come two years in a row,” Pat said. “Kelly has wanted the opportunity to reach out to parents and she will be able to do that Saturday.”
Kallunki Stennick, who is 74, initially reached out to Pat about attending Saturday. She will be completing the race as part of the five-mile relay team “Gray Goddesses” consisting of senior citizens. Pat said teams from the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Department, the Idaho Falls Police Department Fraternal Order of Police, Compass Academy, the Idaho Falls Marines Recruitment Center, Sugar-Salem High School, Teton Running and East Idaho Betties will also participate in the five-mile relay, which debuted last year.
“I wanted one (relay team) to be older women specifically to show the importance of lifetime fitness,” Pat said. “Running is an amazing activity that way. The connection too is that the more fit that we are, wholistically the better drivers we are.”
John E. Liljenquist of the Rocky Mountain Diabetes and Osteoperosis Center will also speak Saturday as well as Idaho Falls mayor Rebecca Casper.
Pat said donations and community support of Run for the Spirit have been “nothing short of a small miracle.” The run drew 108 participants in its inaugural year. Since then, donations have totaled $19,800 and resulted in the purchase of six AEDs for District 91 and 93 schools. Five new AEDs will be purchased this year.
“The No. 1 cause of death of young athletes is sudden cardiac arrest,” Pat said. “It’s gratifying from the standpoint of the run meeting its mission and being able to provide a community service to keep people alive.”
Additional information about the run can be found at cadyrun.org and by searching for Cady Tucker Run in the Spirit on Facebook.
Coming up locally
The annual Ririe Days Half Marathon, 10k, 5k and fun run is scheduled for Saturday. The half marathon begins at 7 a.m. at Kelly Canyon Resort and finishes at Ririe City Park. All other races begin at 8 a.m. at Ririe City Park.
The Grand Enduro, a Montana Enduro Series mountain bike race, takes place Saturday and Sunday at Grand Targhee Resort. Racing begins at 9:30 a.m. each day.