Anyone at all familiar with Team K-Bob knows that the mission of its supporters is simple – to bring something positive out of the loss of Kellen Keiser, who lost his battle with leukemia in 2010, while only a sophomore in high school. It is with that sentiment that Team K-Bob has come together with the help of the community to organize events such as the 2nd Annual Kellen Keiser Memorial Walk/Run.
This year’s walk/run, held at the Fayette School on November 9, was organized so that everyone who wanted to was able to participate regardless of their fitness level or age. With options ranging from Fun Runs of 200 or 400 meters for youngsters to 5K walks and runs to half-marathon routes for individuals or teams, no one who wanted to show their support was without a route that was tailored for his or her ability. Strollers and wagons were also welcome so that those willing to participate as a family could bring their children out.
With varying routes winding down the county roads of Fayette, assistance needed with traffic control and volunteers to help pass out water to runners and walkers also gave others wanting to help ways to lend a hand. Still many other volunteers stepped in lending a hand with registration, timing runners and walkers, handing out awards, and all the other multitude of tasks that it takes to put on such an event.
Volunteers such as Gary and Mary Jo Kast came from as far as Grand Ledge, Michigan to help the Keisers make the event a success and to lend support to their long time friends. While having moved away from the Fayette area years before, Gary Kast was quick to point out that “You just can’t beat the support of a small town”. It was a sentiment echoed by Kris Keiser, who noted that the support from the community has been tremendous since Kellen first became sick in 2009 and that the plan remains “to see some positive come out of the loss”.
Support for Team K-Bob’s efforts comes from both community members who come out to help by volunteering their time, making donations, or by running or walking. Awards were given to each of the runners who finished first in their respective age and gender divisions. However, the emphasis on the walk/run was not to see who could win a race but rather to work together to help raise the funds that Team K-Bob uses to support both Relay For Life of Fulton County and Friends 4 the Fields, which both receive donations from Team K-Bob in honor of Kellen’s memory.
However, as Kris Keiser also pointed out “Nothing comes from nothing” and events such as the Kellen Keiser Memorial Walk/Run are also heavily dependent on the sponsorship of area businesses. Kris Keiser also explained that it is their hope to be able to pay all of the expenses for the event out of sponsorships and donations so that all of the funds raised by the walkers and runners can be used to donate to Relay For Life and Friends 4 the Fields.
With a turn out of 309 participants last year that helped to raise approximately $5000, the goal for this year was to surpass those numbers. While the final numbers are still being put together, it is difficult to say whether or not that goal was met but easy to say that the turn out was good as a large number of runners and walkers of all ages, many bundled up to fight off the biting wind, massed together at the routes’ start at the school. And, while those final numbers are being put together, it is also easy to say that anyone who might have missed out on the walk/run can still lend a hand by sending a donation to Team K-Bob. Checks can be made out Team K-Bob and mailed to Kris Keiser, 10125 Co Rd 21-2, Fayette, Ohio, 43521.