Kenny Stewart's spirit seemed to illuminate the whole scene at the third annual 5K race in his memory on Saturday,May 11.
"When we planned the date for the race in 2012, we had no idea that this years race would be a memorial race for sweet Kenny,"Buffie Hamil, programs coordinator for the Dawson County Parks & Recreation Department, said.
Kenny Stewart, known to the community as "Soldier Boy," died March 11, at age 12 after an almost five-year battle with medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor most commonly diagnosed in children.
What was expected to be a morning of clouds and thunderstorms ended up with sunshine and blue skies, which race officials attributed to Kenny's spirit.
"Kennys chat with God must have worked because the forecast changed to zero percent for the hours surrounding race time and the rain held off until after the race was well over," Hamil said.
The Kenny Stewart 5K will continue to be an annual event, race coordinator Kristi Creegan said. "Every year, we will pick anotherchild just as important," Creegan said. "If you didn't know Kenny, the world is a better place. If you did know Kenny, you're a better person," she said.
"It's been a long journey," Kenny's mother, Anna Miles, said. "And I do know Kenny is here because he has shaked, rattled and rolled my heart since I woke up this morning."
"Run your hearts out," she told the 118 runners at the start. Miles did just that. She was the top female finisher.
Wayne Estes, 48, of Dawsonville was the overall winner with a time of 20 minutes and 35 seconds.
Race officials aren't sure yet exactly how much money was raised, but proceeds will go toward paying medical expenses from the boy's illness.