Finding good borne out of a profound loss

Pin It

Memorial 5K for Jacinda Miller keeps her legacy alive

By Lauren Parker- Gill, News Editor, The Times

TimesLaurenColThis past Sunday, I had the honor of wearing two hats at the Chester County Half-Marathon and Memorial 5K – volunteer and journalist.

Jacinda Miller was my friend. We were neighbors and birthday buddies, our sons went to school together, we saw each other every day at the bus stop, we also carpooled our sons to taekwondo twice a week and she (playfully/forcefully) shoved me into my first fitness class at the Brandywine YMCA – a class I thought I was only observing from the door. Before I knew it, I joined the Y and became a regular in Jacinda’s classes.

Nearly 700 runners participated in the Chester County Half Marathon and Memorial 5K Sunday in honor of beloved community member Jacinda Miller.

Nearly 700 runners participated in the Chester County Half Marathon and Memorial 5K Sunday in honor of beloved community member Jacinda Miller.

When Jacinda was killed November 3, 2014 by an act of domestic violence, her death sent a shockwave of grief through the community. I remember walking through those first few weeks as though I was in a complete daze. How could this happen? Why did this happen? What would happen to her two boys?

Out of this tragedy though, amazing things happened. People from all over began reaching out and asking how they could help. A memorial account was opened at a bank nearby and deposits were made from local businesses, friends and neighbors; some were even from complete strangers, who heard her story and wanted to help support her sons.

From there, the idea of an annual half-marathon and memorial 5K, the only one in Chester County, was born and first held in May 2015. Following its success, plans began right away for the next one, which took place this past Sunday.

Jacinda Miller’s legacy lives on — funds raised from Sunday will be put toward her sons’ college educations and this year, a portion will also be donated to the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County. There will also be a scholarship and an award, each given to a deserving senior at Coatesville Area Senior High School in her name.

Jacinda Miller’s legacy lives on — funds raised from Sunday will be put toward her sons’ college educations and this year, a portion will also be donated to the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County. There will also be a scholarship and an award, each given to a deserving senior at Coatesville Area Senior High School in her name.

As my family and I arrived an hour before the start of the race, we were in a line of cars waiting to park in the field across from Layton Park. There were so many cars that we were still on West King’s Highway, waiting to turn onto Water Works Road. I was in awe…all of these people were there for her.

Just before the official start of the half-marathon, a hush fell over the crowd of runners, volunteers and spectators as two gentlemen played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes. State representative Harry Lewis Jr. (R-74), the official master of ceremonies, then announced the start of the race by blowing a whistle. The crowd erupted in cheers and the race began.

Fifteen minutes later, the memorial 5K began. Jacinda’s family, including her oldest son, parents, aunts and cousins, joined the race and took turns pushing her grandmother in a wheelchair. At the end of the race, Jacinda’s grandmother got up from her wheelchair, and with the assistance of her family and race directors Jessica Rigo and Rebecca Eberly, walked across the finish line.

Nearly 700 runners and 150 volunteers turned out Sunday. There were sponsors, vendors and the support of so many in the community. With all of their help, the funds that were raised will go toward her sons’ college educations and this year, a portion will be donated to the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County.

Also new for this year, are the Jacinda Miller Excellence Award, which will be awarded to a vibrant, determined senior at Coatesville Area Senior High School who demonstrates kindness, caring and compassion. The winning student will be nominated and selected by teachers.

There will also be a scholarship in Jacinda’s name, awarded to a senior who will be attending a 4-year institution, is involved in clubs sports or has a job outside of school. Students apply by submitting a written essay, to be judged by the teachers at CASH.

As I cheered along the runners at various cheer stations throughout the course, I took a moment to absorb the magnitude of that day. All of the good that was borne out of profound loss and in memory of a woman who touched so many lives with her outgoing personality, infectious laugh and inspiring life.

Her legacy lives on…

www.pdf24.org    Send article as PDF   

Share this post:

Related Posts

Leave a Comment