It rained on Sami Koester’s “parade.” But that was OK with her. Despite the soggy weather, her senior project ran as planned.
Koester, a senior at Jonathan Alder High School, planned and executed a 5K race on Saturday, May 10, that held a dual purpose. The race and fun run, held in Hilliard’s Homestead Park, was not only of a humanitarian nature, but also one which touched her directly.
The duality consists of helping a living member of her family, her sister, Sophie, and the memory of her departed grandfather, Joe Cummins.
Her sister, Sophie Koester, has had Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) since age six. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a group of inherited disorders that affect a person’s connective tissues — primarily the skin, joints and blood vessel walls.
Sophie is now 14 and has endured several surgeries and physical ailments that have prevented her from experiencing a normal childhood. The race was held to support the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation to raise awareness and provide encouragement for the children and adults who have been diagnosed with this syndrome.
The 5K run, attended by 22 people, also supported The Bladder Cancer Research Fund through The Ohio State University Foundation. The girls’ grandfather, avid runner and competitive racer Joe Cummins, passed almost two years ago from a rare and aggressive type of bladder cancer.
All proceeds — approximately $1,000 — will go toward these two foundations to support research for the two conditions.
Through the course of putting the event together — a personal cause for her — Sami learned how much work and attention to detail it took to make it a first-class job, she said.
Among the demands for the project were designing the logo for T-shirt and mug, coordinating race sponsors, overseeing a web page, booking the park, marking the course, and coordinating with the Columbus Running Company to set up timing and race results.
All this and more — including the rain — just hours ahead of Jonathan Alder’s prom.
Sami said a hair dryer worked overtime to prep her for the big dance. But her greater concern was that her project run smoothly.
Having Eric Fruth and Andy Harris from the Columbus Running Company provide the start and times of each runner was particularly helpful, she added.
The most important lesson learned was time management “to get things done,” she said.
Sophie, who was honored by her sister’s project, had one request now that the project is done.
“No more 5K’s in my honor,” she said with a smile.
Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.