TYLER, Texas — The Children’s Park of Tyler will host their second Remembrance 5K Run to honor those who have passed away on Nov. 12.
Executive Director Eloise Ghrist and Program Manager Megan Dewet said this run is open to anyone who has lost a loved one and it's a run that can be walked or ran.
"This is our second year officially doing it," Ghrist said. "And it's just really a sweet day that people can just honor their loved one's legacies."
Gigi Wadale participated in the inaugural 5K run and ran in memory of her parents. Her dad died in December 2018 and her mom in April 2021.
"I know without a doubt the Lord had me read that email and sign up," Wadale said. "I am not a runner and never have been but I knew it was going to be a way I could honor my mom and dad."
Wadale began training just three months before the run with an app that her husband download on her phone. She said she kept her mom and dad in mind as she trained every morning leading up to the run.
"I have my number and it says I was running in remembrance of my mom and dad," Wadale said. "And then, I had no idea I would get a medal, a beautiful butterfly medal."
Wadale is just one of hundreds of people who will take to the streets of the historic Azalea District and run in memory of their loved ones who have passed away.
"We think it will bring the community together and give people a therapeutic run to work through the grief of losing a loved one," Dewet said.
"Especially before the holidays this year," Ghrist added.
"And it's our goal that people don't feel alone. That we built a community that supports each other through those losses," Dewet added.
Wadale said she is grateful to the Children's Park of Tyler for providing services and events to the people in the community that are grieving their loved ones.
"It truly was a huge part of my healing, a sweet time to focus preparing for the race," Wadale said. "And thinking of my mom and dad and honoring them, it was a big part of healing for me."
As for her parents, Wadale believes they would be proud of her for running this 5K to honor them.
"I know they would be here cheering me on at the start and finish line," Wadale said.
Ghrist and Dewet said they can't wait to see the community come together and help each other heal as they run the Remembrance 5K this Saturday.
The Children's Park of Tyler offers services such as grief support groups and events throughout the year. For more information about services, events, and volunteering opportunities go to their website.