Local organization Strong as Steele Cancer Foundation brought back its Turkey Trot on Nov. 25, again working to raise money to assist cancer patients. Dozens of people came out to Herald to run or walk the 5K course.
“It’s more of a true Thanksgiving event where people just come and enjoy spending time with one another,” organizer Lisa Steele said of the relaxed atmosphere.
Steele, who started the run after her daughter Taylor died in 2011 of ovarian cancer, said the funds raised will help create a “healing garden” at Sutter Health’s Anderson Lucchetti Women’s & Children’s Center, so that patients will have a place to go outside and get fresh air.
Time outdoors was essential during the months Taylor spent in the hospital.
“To just come outside and enjoy some fresh air, to just see the sunshine, to hear the birds, to look at flowers — it was a very important part of her journey,” Steele told the Herald.
Steele noted Taylor’s compassion for others despite her own diagnosis and thought that “she would be thrilled that we have an opportunity to really put significant (effort) toward this healing garden and make a difference.”
The money will also go toward an arts program for pediatric patients.
The run had to be canceled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, and this year’s edition was somewhat scaled back, Steele told attendees, but she promised that the Turkey Trot will be back at “100%” next year. In May 2022, the foundation will hold a luncheon and table-setting event where sponsors can show their decorating skills and attendees can learn more about signs of ovarian cancer.
Turkey Trot participants ranged from those running the whole way to those “just here for the coffee and conversation.”
Finishing in less than 25 minutes were Lacy Ceremony in first place, Xavier Morales in second place and Anthony Tiapon in third place, which earned them each tubs of cookies from Spaans Cookie Company. Prizes also honored more idiosyncratic distinctions, such as “first kid riding a bike” to cross the finish line.
When the Turkey Trot started after Taylor’s death, it was straightforwardly about raising money for cancer patients, Steele said, but the Thanksgiving date took on greater meaning with time.
“It really became more about giving thanks that we all had an opportunity to spend 17 amazing years with this person who brightened the world,” Steele said.