Coffee steamed and pancakes were flipped as a winter storm threatened to dampen runners and supporters at the McGarry Miles-A Journey in Faith 5K and 8K on Saturday.
Nearly 300 people were present for the starting gun under suddenly sunny, clear skies, at the fundraiser for Leslie McGarry, who is fighting stage 4 breast cancer.
“I believe it really was a higher power shining down on us,” said McGarry, a mother of four.
“For the six hours of the event there was no wind or anything,” Event coordinator and friend Cindy Thompson said. “There was nothing but sun shining down on us. Her faith, which is so raw and so real and has been a major support for her through this, made it clear that it was God shining down on her that day.”
More than 70 sponsors helped make the event something McGarry never could have imagined.
Thompson and friend Darnette Hoag put together the event in five weeks, raising an amount of money they never expected.
“It is just amazing how one person writing a $10 check or $25 really does make a difference,” Thompson said. “Knowing that those hundreds of people came out to help was just so powerful. At one of our planning meetings (in Carson City) one of the employees approached us saying someone wanted to help, and handed us an envelope with a $1 in it. It is so powerful to know that person wanted to give that dollar. No matter if it is $1 or $100, there is a need there. There is nothing harder than financial hardship when a family is already facing cancer.”
For McGarry the event was never been about the money, although the financial assistance helps ease the family’s burden from her chemotherapy and medication.
“It took four months into the diagnosis to realize people we have touched,” she said. “The day of the brain surgery it was apparent with the people like the ICU nurse, that they needed us more than we needed them. I’ve started picking things out of this experience that are so much more than me having cancer.”
McGarry said that her journey through her second cancer diagnosis, is purposeful, a way for God to use her experience to spread His message of faith.
Sharing her faith and strength from God through her challenge, is not the only thing she hopes can be shared.
“I want (McGarry Miles) to continue no matter what the future may be for me,” McGarry said. “I want this to continue next year to help a family with Christmas presents or medical bills or whatever they need.”
Kaia Fit and Carson City Fire joined forces to create an event that they hope becomes an annual staple in the Valley for families that may be facing a challenge like McGarry’s.
“People were so gracious,” Thompson said. “It reaffirmed how great people can be with all the ick in the world.”
“A lot of the time people don’t hear about the good things happening,” McGarry said. “It was just incredible. Everyone was so sweet and united as one and that’s what was so great. It was all about the support.”
Donations can still be made to McGarry Miles, a nonprofit.
They should be sent to: McGarry Miles c/o State Farm, 1476 N. Highway 395, Gardnerville, NV 89410.
A gofundme page is also active for McGarry at www.gofundme.com/9285rj8s.