CELEBRATING A GOAL SURPASSED are these local runners who have worked for the last year to raise money for St. Jude’s. Pictured, l-r, Kay-K Cooper (project coordinator), Cindy Meadows, Donna Collins, Rene Brock, Sherrie Jones, Sylvia Ferguson, Avery Kate Downing, Samantha Green and Sandy Patterson. Not pictured: Hope Eidson, Shelly Gayle, Toni Hammer, Gwen Lee and Donica Williams.
A group of local runners under the leadership of one energetic woman, has raised more than $17,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
For the last year, Kay-K Cooper and her running group, the Sole Mates, have held yard sales, sold chicken pilau plates and taken donations all in support of the children’s hospital located in Memphis, Tennessee.
‘I haven’t done this all by myself,” she says, “although it was my crazy idea.”
Saturday morning, Cooper thanked her cohorts for their fund raising work the last year by presenting them with a ceremonial check and awarding each with a medal.
The group also ran at the Cairo High School track Saturday morning in the event that gave Cooper the fund raising idea, a Tallahassee virtual 5K that benefited St. Jude’s.
“This year, because of COVID-19, everything has to be virtual, so I’ll just turn our times in online,” explains Cooper.
An avid runner, Cooper says she’s always looking for marathons to participate in with her group of running friends. Last year, she participated in the Tallahassee benefit run for St. Jude, and says she was surprised to learn that the most raised by a team for the event was $2,600.
“My wheels started turning,” she says. “I just thought it was a good cause, and cancer is something I’d never want to hear about a child.”
Between two yard sales and a chicken pilau, she says they raised more than $9,000. She also raffled off donated items and accepted monetary donations to reach more than $17,000.
“It’s really been amazing, the community support,” Cooper says.
Only one other team participating in the Tallahassee 5K has raised more than the 14 members of Sole Mates, and that’s a running club of about 240 members who live all over the nation, Cooper says.