This summer my sister and mom and I had a goal to run a 5k every month. We've done okay, but for August I had to sign up for a "virtual run." May's run was a benefit run for Now I Can! an NGO for kids who need physical therapy. June was the Weight Watcher's run (if you ever want a feel-good run, it's this one--every one gets a certificate of completion!). July's run, though, was just heartbreaking.
It was called Conner's Run. The Conner in honor of whom the run was named was three or four years old in August when, after swimming, he decided to warm up by lying down on the hot asphalt in front of his house. His aunt, who I guess feels worse than I can imagine, backed over him. There was nothing the EMTs could do. Instead of just blaming each other, the family decided to make the anniversary of Conner's death a date to honor the emergency response departments. Besides the run itself, there were firetrucks with the ladders raised and a lifeflight helicopter and half a dozen carnival games at the start of the run. Along the way there were hand-made signs encouraging us to give high 5 to a cop or hug a fireman, but there were also these tragic pictures of a little blond boy dressed up like a pirate, or in his Sunday clothes, or with balloons. We ran right past his house, and his family was all standing outside. It was a good show of support, and one of the most community-oriented things I've ever seen (Mom asked someone where the finish line was located and they said, "You know where Sandy Fisher lives?"). Everyone was there for love of the family.
Now as much as I love this, I think: this family had money. And friends. And community. What about all the kids who die needlessly and get no memorial at all? I can't fault Conner's family for arraigning a lovely tribute, but I guess I need to remember that it represents a lot of mistakes, a lot of accidents, and a lot of tragedy.