The story made national headlines last summer: A vacationing Texas family suffered a tragic accident when a driver on a Colorado highway swerved into oncoming traffic and struck their minivan head on.
Parents Joshua and Robin Berry were killed. Children Peter, 9, and Aaron, 8, are paralyzed from the waist down and little Willa, 6, was left with many broken bones. All the survivors obviously were left with a gaping hole in their young lives.
Their story touched many, including a couple of people here in our area — Teel Tishgart and Kyle Stevens — who have organized a fundraising run this month for the Berry children.
Tishgart, a good friend of mine and a founding member of the White Rock Running Co-op says she didn’t know the Berrys personally, but as a mother of three she felt a special connection to the family when she heard the horrifying reports.
“I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this story mirrored my own life. It was a fluke accident and could have just as easily been any of us. I would hope that anyone and everyone would step up if my children suffered the same horrific situation.”
Tishgart, a Hockaday alum, has been involved in the Dallas running community for a few years now and when she learned Robin and Joshua Berry were runners, she knew she wanted to do something that involved the mutually loved sport.
Stevens, who will serve as the race director, also felt driven to help though he didn’t personally know the Berrys, who are from Houston. Stevens survived a serious car accident as a child and says he feels this is an “opportunity to pay it forward.”
The race is set for Saturday, March 24 in Plano at Granite Park. Registration is open now, here and is $30 for the individual 5k and $25 per person for teams. A $10 1-mile fun run and a kid’s dash is also available.
The organizers say they have been planning for months to put on a one-of-a-kind event.
“We want to give the feeling that each participant has just completed a marathon,” Tishgart says. “Every child will receive a keepsake award just for participating. Every person will be greeted at the finish line with a Powerade and a snack handed to them by the ‘hype crew’ — dozens of high school kids in costume. We will be cheering and supporting every runner who crosses the finish line.”
One hundred percent of registration fees and donations, minus the race cost, will go to the Berry kids. Learn more about the race, volunteering and the charity at berryfamily5k.org.