We planned our Colorado trip around my Grandma's 80th birthday celebrations. There was a dinner and party on Saturday night and she requested that we also participate as a family in the Second Wind 5K Run/Walk to prevent youth suicide, in honor and memory of my cousin Ben.
We had lots of fun at the party, catching up with lots of Clarks I haven't seen in a while. Aside from the few we'd already had playdates with, Alice was meeting almost all of the Clarks for the first time that night, and so was Jon! He met a good number at our wedding, but there are a lot to keep track of and he was a little busy and distracted that weekend. Unfortunately, there were still a few he didn't get to meet, and a few he claimed he didn't even know existed (though I'm sure that's not true!). We'll just have to keep going back until we see them all, because I know they don't get out this way very often!
|It was hard to get a good picture of all of us...|
Alice was ready for bed before we even left the house for the party but she managed to hold it together all the way until the cake was served, save for one small tantrum at dinner when she was hungry but too picky and distracted to eat anything we had for her. I was just glad she didn't cry at any of the baby-snatching Grandmas and Aunties who wanted to squeeze her.
|Alice and her Aunties. You should have seen the dirty look she gave my Aunt Becky when she removed her pacifier for that photo (left)|
|Grandma is laughing, not throwing a tantrum|
On Sunday morning, we headed out to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds for the nation's largest suicide prevention event. This was the 10th annual walk/run to benefit the Second Wind Fund of Metro Denver, an organization that aims to prevent youth suicide by removing the financial barriers to treatment. They provide free counseling to at-risk youth with 2,300 referrals since 2002, according to their website. I heard someone mention that they've helped over 3,000 youth and haven't lost one yet. I sure hope that's true! There are currently nine affiliates in Colorado, and I hear that several more are being started throughout the nation. I would love to see this organization grow to serve youth in every community.
We checked out the silent auction and snagged a quick BBQ lunch before everything got underway. After some opening remarks, they did a memorial dove release that kind of broke my heart. We were wearing the official shirts of the event but it also broke my heart to see so many homemade shirts honoring loved ones lost to suicide. I'm not sure what the final attendance count was, but it made me so sad to know that everyone there is missing someone who took their life. It made me especially sad to see more than a few large groups of young girls, middle school and high school age, whose shirts could have been for any school group or function for all the embellishments. I hoped that those they were honoring weren't as young as the girls in each group, but I'm afraid that probably wasn't the case. One woman's shirt bore the face of her husband and the message below said she was walking to help protect her children from the same desperation.
My uncle and one of Ben's cousins on his mother's side ran the 5K. There was much bantering about who would beat who but in the end, they both crossed the finish line together, holding hands. The rest of us took the walking route but the runners circled back to join us and we finished all together. I'd love to know how much the event raised this year but I am proud to say that The Ben Team exceeded their fundraising goal by over 300%, raising $3475 for the top spot (at last count, today). Go, The Ben Team! And a very sincere thank you to any and all who donated and/or participated. This event is over but it's not too late to support the organization. Visit the website for more information.
|Crossing the finish line|
|The Ben Team, enjoying the Music Festival after the walk.|
After the walk, we headed back to my aunt's house and made some S'mores. Little Benjamin appointed himself in charge of installing marshmallows onto the roasting stick. He took his job very seriously. By the way, if you've never made s'mores with frosting instead of chocolate bars, I highly recommend it. Delicious. Make some today, with someone you love.
|Alice and Oma Marianne|
We were so glad that we were able to introduce Alice to so many of our family, and to spend a little time with them all. We were especially glad to be able to celebrate with my grandma, and to support The Ben Team.