Helping children is local’s ‘calling’

Running for a cause.

Perhaps that would be the best way to describe Saturday’s 5-kilometer at South Kitsap Community Park that benefited Children’s Miracle Network and Seattle Children’s Hospital.

This marked the third year for the run. Erica Runyan said her idea originated from watching her brother, Adam, a 2008 Central Kitsap High School graduate who ran cross country in addition to the successful nationwide Susan G. Komen races, which are dedicated to breast-cancer research.

In 2010, Runyan, who then was a student at Central, said she was inspired to produce a run to benefit children. She enlisted the help of R. Scott Lucke, who organizes the HotFoot Run each June at South Kitsap Community Park, and Silverdale’s Whale of a Run producer Greg Chapman for assistance.

“I was fortunate enough to have Lucke and Chapman help me out that first year,” Runyan said.

Now a 19-year-old entering her sophomore year at Washington State University who is studying to become a neonatal nurse, Runyan said the stories she has heard have inspired her to keep promoting the run. She said one patient told her that “my fundraising money has saved his life five times.”

“I want to feel grateful for what I have and I want to keep going,” Runyan said.

Another inspiration to help children came when she visited her native North Carolina and visited a neonatal nurse.

“When I saw babies holding on for their life, I wanted to give back to those children,” Runyan said. “It’s really a passion of mine and my calling.”

Runyan said this year’s run, which drew more than 130 participants, raised $2,000. She said that was a significant increase from last year, when 100 runners competed. She attributes that using more brochures and increased use of social media, such as Facebook.

“I think that opened up the door for people to see what we’re all about,” Runyan said.

She also produces a couple of other benefits for the same organizations, such as a baked ziti dinner for low-income families. Runyan plans even more charity events in the future, and hopes to inspire others to do the same.

“Volunteer service is extremely important in the community,” she said. “I want to help generations realize that giving a hand can be their greatest gift.”


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