A few years ago, when Alice Brooky, the Treasurer of Feel the Love 5K, heard the story of someone in her community balancing on the verge of life and death, she and a few other locals knew that something had to be done. “We were talking one day, trying to figure out what we could do to help,” says Alice, “and all of a sudden someone said, ‘Oh, let’s just put together a run.’”
Now in its fourth year, the run starts and finishes at the St. Augustine Pier, taking a 3.1 mile course through some of St. Augustine Beach’s beautiful neighborhoods. It’s not funded by the city or the state but, in fact, is supported fully by the loving donations of people in the community, including the proceeds that are made from the small entrance fee. “We solicit sponsorships from local businesses,” says Alice, “so the more sponsors we get, the more money we get to give to the year’s beneficiary.”
This year’s beneficiary is a local couple, Katrina and Jeff. The two were devastated when they found out that Katrina had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The difficulties only increased when Jeff suffered an injury and was subsequently forced to stop going to work. Their bills kept piling up, and that’s how their names were entered into the list of hopefuls. “During chemotherapy, I was unable to work and so was my husband, due to a major work-inflicted injury the prior year and was on Workman’s Comp Disability,” says Katrina. “All while trying to raise 3 growing children, ages 16, 13, and 7.”
“We found them in the same way that we have found our previous beneficiaries,” says Alice. “The whole board comes together with possible candidates, and we simply do a vote.”
The family is overwhelmed with the kindness being shown to them. “When we were first told about being sponsored by St. Augustine United, we were stunned and extremely surprised,” says Katrina. “We are deeply grateful to all of the wonderful and generous people involved. They get nothing out of all this, other than the satisfaction of helping others.”
No matter who it is that is being assisted, the community still shows up and shows out in support – last year the total number of people who signed up for the run totaling out to be around 130. “I mean, we have to help,” says Alice. “What kind of people would we be if we could help and just didn’t?”
The Feel the Love 5K takes place on Saturday, September 7. Learn more about the race online at www.feelthelove5k.com.