11th Annual Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Awareness Walk & 5k Rund

Both of my lil’ ones have spent the majority of their weekly gymnastics lessons over the last 2+ years with the wonderful ‘Miss Melanie’ (LOL – even Trey-man was going to Lizzy’s lessons in the carrying pouch at a few months old until he started at 1 himself 😉 ). She has always been a shining light of happiness, friendliness & caring and oh boy, does she LOVE her kiddos… as much as they do her!! When she contacted me to see if I would be willing to cover the photography of her charity event that was coming up, I didn’t even hesitate to say ‘yes’… simply because it was ‘her’ asking. But WOW… what I was in for was SO much more than just ‘covering’ a charity event. Little did I know, what amazing things she does outside the gymnastics class world that we know her in… and what an amazing… AMAZING… experience I was in for!

This is the 11th year she has put together & held the annual Gail Parkins Memorial Ovarian Awareness Walk & 5k Run. She began this event, and carries it on in the memory of her mother, Gail Parkins & all the other women who have lost their battle with Ovarian Cancer, in support of all the women who have survived, those who are currently fighting their battle and towards research for the future! In the 11 years that she has been building this… not as a huge or even little organization, but as an individual with a GIANT heart of gold and surrounded by a team of love & support as well… it has grown beyond imagination. There were around 3 THOUSAND people in attendance at this years event, media coverage, major sponsors, vendors big & small, celebrity speakers & appearances, the most touching & inspirational teams – so dedicated in raising breathtaking amounts of money AND… are you sitting? This year, the total raised was almost $400,000!!

Though I have never personally experienced life affected by Ovarian Cancer… myself or someone close to me… I can’t even begin to tell you how much I became moved by it simply being here, seeing the support & love for each other and hearing the survivors stories. Goodness knows I was brought to tears on numerous occasions throughout this event… especially during the survivor recognition, as one brave woman after another came up to the microphone to tell their courageous stories! I still don’t ‘know’ any of these women or their families directly, BUT they have touched my heart & my memories FOREVER!

I admit… with the event a month ago now, I am obviously oh so very far behind in getting this blog posted. I’ve worked on my collages & narrowed down images time & time again… it was just literally so difficult to remove any, that I kept procrastinating on finishing it. That being said… before I get any further behind… I have now finished!! This is NOT a short blog set – with so many beautiful smiling faces & all that went into such a huge day, it just simply wasn’t possible. So… here are just a ‘few’ (lol) of my favorite highlights from this year’s very moving & amazing event…

Click HERE to view the slideshow & full set of images from this amazing event!

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