September 3, 2015
Last Saturday over 400 participants gathered to support Mercy at the Run For Mercy 5K and Family Walk held at Queeny Park in Ballwin, Missouri. The slightly overcast but dry conditions and mild late-summer temperatures made for a perfect race day.
Upon arrival, runners and walkers visited the sponsor booths, the Kids Corner, and took photos in front of the Mercy banner. Dr. Jerod Posey from 212 Degrees of Wellness gathered all participants and led them in a pre-race warm-up.
In an opening program, all Mercy graduates in attendance were invited to the stage to show a representation of the thousands of young women who have been restored to wholeness through Mercy since 1983. The crowd honored the courageous grads with a round of applause and kept the enthusiasm high with multiple cheers for Lauren, a 2014 St. Louis graduate, as she shared her personal story of transformation.
Before Mercy, Lauren struggled with depression, addiction, and had no will to live. She was in a traumatic car accident, and the doctors said she would most likely never walk again or be able to have babies because of the damage done to her body. At Mercy, God used the love of the staff to break down the walls she had built up, and she began to have a real relationship with God. He began to show Lauren her worth and value in Him. She learned that her identity is in Christ, not in past labels placed on her. Today Lauren is healed from her issues, is fully able to walk, and is the proud mother of two sons. She is plugged into her church where she works with the youth group. Lauren shared her gratitude for the Mercy staff and supporters, saying, “Without you, I would not be standing here today.”
Mercy St. Louis Director of Development, Lauren Hobar, said, “To see all of the Mercy graduates gathered and hear Lauren’s story was such an awesome picture of God’s transformative power on display.”
After the opening program, three current St. Louis Mercy residents shouted “On your mark, get set, go!” to kick-off the race. St. Louis Cardinals’ Fredbird, Chick-fil-A Cow, and St. Louis Ambush’s Bushwacker cheered the runners as they headed onto the course. Among the participants was Juggling Jeff, who ran the entire 5K while juggling and won first place in his age group. Current Mercy residents and local Saving our Daughters ministry volunteers lined up at the finish line to congratulate the finishers.
In a closing ceremony, awards were given to top male overall runner Thomas Huling, with a time of 21:48, and top female overall runner Sarah Kelly, with a time of 23:06. Awards were also presented to the top male and female runners in each age category.
Top fundraisers were honored as well. Becki Peters earned top individual fundraiser, raising $1,162. Team JOY FM (99.1 Joy FM) earned top team fundraiser, raising $1,335. In addition to the community efforts, the St. Louis Mercy residents themselves raised $8,500.
Mercy is grateful for the generous sponsors, volunteers and participants who made the 2015 St. Louis Run For Mercy such a huge success. A special thanks goes to Connection Christian Church; Masterpiece Smiles by Dr. Frith; Wildwood Internal Medicine, John F. Wiedner, MD; Luecal Consulting; 99.1 JOY FM; and Cardinal Glennon Sportscare.
If you were unable to participate in the St. Louis Run for Mercy but would still like to give to the cause, please click here.