One area resident once dreamed of running a marathon, but the course of life’s events has changed that goal.
Bridgette Jenkins was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in October of 2013.
Her husband, Josh Jenkins, said Bridgette Jenkins began running shortly after the couple was married in 2005. It began as a weight-loss plan, and developed into a passion.
“She fell in love with it,” said Josh Jenkins. “She ran about five days a week.”
Jenkins is hopeful for a cure to the debilitating disease, and she’s doing what she can to help. Saturday Jenkins and You Better Run, a local running club, are hosting a 5k run and walk. Proceeds will be donated to the ALS Association.
Opening ceremonies will begin at 8 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy. Race-day registration is from 7 a.m. until 7:45 a.m., and the cost per adult runner is $30. Those under 18 may run for $25. There is also a free “fun run” for children. The route will lead runners along the Emily B. Taylor Greenway.
Traxx Shoes will also host a “kids fun zone” at the race. The fun zone will include a bounce-house, face painting and games. Additionally, supervision will be provided, so parents are free to run.
Josh Jenkins said the group hopes to have a great day of running and fun, but the cause is what is important.
“Ultimately, we want to find a cure so we can help someone else,” explained Josh Jenkins. “We hope one day other families won’t have to endure what we have.”
He said his wife has kept a positive train of thought throughout the course of the past three years.
“She always says, ‘We can’t control what life gives us. We can only control how we handle it,’” remarked Jenkins.
Josh Jenkins said the running community is just part of a support network which has helped his family weather the storm before it.
“We have been overwhelmed with support from family, friends, the community and our church family,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins, a pastor at Mining Ridge Baptist Church in State Road, said his church and others — such as Amazing Grace Baptist, Charity Hill Baptist, Thanks to Calvary Baptist and New River Baptist — have been instrumental in pushing the family over the hurdles ALS has presented.
They’ve found strength in their religion, said Josh Jenkins.
“By the faith and the Lord, we have endured this storm,” said the pastor. “Romans 8:28 assures us all things work together for good.”
More information about the race can be gathered at www.itsyourrace.com/event.aspx?id=6834. Runners may also call Judy Jenkins at 372-2998 or 200-0218 for more information.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.