A fun run for a loved one
- Written by By Marilyn Harkrider
Virginia Gandy was beloved by many people. “She had so many good friends,” was the first way Ginger Bertrand described her. “We were so fortunate that she dedicated so much of her time to Mothers Against Cancer.” Bertrand is not the only one who feels this way as the organization created the Virginia Gandy Fun Run & Walk in her memory. This new event to be held Saturday, Oct. 6, honors a woman who was John Gandy’s wife, John and Meg Gandy’s mother, and who loved dogs, the LSU Tigers and tiaras. Her family was most special to her, but her love of life was given to all around her. As one of her close friends of 15 years, Nancy Dillard said, “Everyone wanted to be around her. She drew everyone in.” Gandy not only created a warm circle of friends around her, but she was one to give back with an open heart. “She would always say, ‘What do you want me to do?’ It never mattered what she was asked to do, she would do it happily,” said Dillard. This “go to“ spirit showed itself in Gandy’s work for Mothers Against Cancer, which benefits cancer research at Texas Children’s Cancer Center. “She would not only work on projects, but she would open her home for parties or meetings. She would wear a tiara sometimes just for fun at these events. That was part of her playful spirit,” Dillard said. This full spirit did not falter when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. “Every time she would have chemo or a needle, she would say, ‘If those kids can do this, I can,’” recounted Dillard. “Those kids” will continue to benefit from the way Gandy lived her life. The Fun Run is new, but 301 participants have signed to date, and many high-profile sponsors as well as private donors are already backing the fundraiser, which is more fun than run. Many categories from under age 6 to adult are designed to make the event a pleasant one. Those who may not want to roll out of bed for the 8:15 5K can still participate with the “Stay in Bed” group. They can pull the covers over their head; get a T-shirt and more sleep by giving a $25 donation. This category has 98 participants listed. However, those sleepy heads will miss music by disc jockey Jason Wyatt, balloon twisting, face and hair painting, clowns Curly and Daisy, a mobile entertainment center from GameKraze, and food. Many “good eats” from H-E-B, McDonald’s, Blue Bell Ice Cream and Papa John’s Pizza will be available during the post-race party. During the event, water will be provided by Kingwood Tire and Automotive. The festivities in Kingwood will be missed by the 32 people who are also friends and family members of Virginia in White Hall, Maryland. But, sporting an event T-shirt, they will run or walk at the same time on Oct. 6. “It just shows how much Virginia was loved,” said Bertrand. Mothers Against Cancer is an organization that has given more than $4 million to the Children’s Cancer Center during the past 23 years. Many people will help raise that total Oct. 6 and get stars in their tiaras for helping others. People may register on the day of the event, or make online donations through the website mothersagainstcancer.net.