The third annual Florence Forth was held March 7, 2015 with nearly 1100 registered participants. In this post we remember 2015 and the evolution of the Kids Cape Dash, the first AE Family Lunch and the inaugural 10K State Championship – all for a good cause.
Kids Cape Dash
By 2015, the Kids Cape Dash, which started as a fun idea to include young kids not old enough to run/walk a 5K had become an integral part of Florence Forth. A Kids Cape Dash doesn’t happen without kid sized capes! Thankfully Toni Mason, who taught kids to sew at her business, Sew Crafty, donated leftover material to make capes for all the kid participants! One evening, a few of our friends met to cut fabric, drink wine and sew capes. I believe we made 50 capes that evening! Many of these capes are still in circulation with young runners or hung in bedrooms as inspiration!
AE Family Lunch
In 2015, we hosted the first annual family lunch following the Florence Forth Road Race at the Pit. It was a time for families and friends to gather and recognize and celebrate the hardships and successes of living with AE. Families were able to meet other families and share their personal experiences and give advice to those in similar positions. At the end of the lunch, there was a time for patients and family members to share their story to the group. The often emotional recollection of such a difficult disease helped others feel less alone in their journey. This lunch has created lifelong friendships and connections because of one shared diagnosis: Autoimmune Encephalitis.
10K State Championship
Also in 2015 Florence Forth was selected to be the USATF North Carolina State 10K Championship Race. In this capacity, Florence Forth attracted some of the fastest runners from across the state. When we launched FLorence Forth in 2013, our motto was to have the best Race | Run | Walk – something for everyone..The championship race was great with Donnie Cowart winning the men’s race in a time of 31:07 and Hiedi Bretsher winning the womens in 38:47.
$60K for AE Alliance
With nearly 1100 registered runners and many teams fundraising, the race raised $60,000 for the Autoimmune Encephalitis Alliance. Proceeds from 2015 Florence Forth allowed the AE Alliance to attend a critical conference in Barcelona Spain further integrate the Alliance’s work into the growing international community of AE researchers. We also used proceeds to create the AE Clinicians Network located on the home page of our website. Finding a doctor who has experience in diagnosing and treating AE was not easy in 2015 and the AE Clinicians Network was a valuable resource for families struggling with the disease.