Registration Remains Open for 2019 Fryburg Mayfest 5K Fun Run/Walk in Memory of Arianna Evans
(Pictured above: 2018 Fryburg Mayfest 5k Fun Run/Walk. Photo by Bob Fitzsimmons.)
The 5k Fun Run/Walk will begin at 7:00 p.m.
Touted as being “one of the toughest races, but one of the most fun,” the Fun Run/Walk will start at the Saint Michael’s Church along State Route 208 in Fryburg.
It takes place on an all blacktop course that runs through the rolling hills of Fryburg and Marble. The race ends in front of St. Michael’s Church.
Click here for the registration options.
Online registration ends on May 23, 2019.
Race day registration will be available.
This year’s race is being held in memory of Arianna Evans (pictured below), with all proceeds going to the Washington Township Community Association Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Arianna was born February 23, 1994 with little to no chance for life. Her mom, Laura, and dad, Bill, only asked and required one thing from the doctors, and that was to be able to say “Goodbye!” before they took her away. Arianna came out screaming and fighting and from that moment on she proved that she was going to be the exception to every rule. She had numerous surgeries and even more doctor’s appointments her first year. As she grew the surgeries and appointments
Her parents were often taking her on camping and fishing excursions. As the family grew, with a brother, Tanner, a sister, Lia, and another brother, Parker, the excursions became bigger and more often. We believed that we were to make the most that we could out of this life, and nobody should be able to say that we weren’t giving her an experience rich and fulfilled life. In fact we were living the Tim McGraw song “Live Like You Are Dying.” long before the song was written.
At the age of five Arianna began making an appearance at Youth Field Days in Camp Coffman. In fact, at the time, that is where the Arianna was living. Often seeing bear, deer, raccoons, and turkeys in the yard. This was one of those ways that Arianna was introduced to the outdoors and activities that weren’t created for a handicapped child. This was the beginning of a life without questions. The family learned to compensate, and Arianna was taught to say, “Let’s give it a try!”
In the early years Arianna used a walker and braces nearly as much as she used a wheelchair, because we wanted her to not be tied down to one thing. As Arianna grew though, and because of other health issues, the wheelchair became her primary mode of transportation. By the time she was a senior. the boys were envious of her wheels. A wheelchair made and modified through the help of her dad’s students and friends. Just another sign that this girl was on the move.
In the outdoor world, Arianna became a “rockstar.” By 13 she was on her first Outdoor TV show, “Hunting with Penn’s Woods,” shortly after being diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure. Before she was 14 she signed her first autographs. Later, at the age of 14, Arianna had already been hunting with a number of outdoor celebrities and making quite a name for herself. Also at the age of 14, her parents received a phone call for a kidney transplant. She was rushed to Children’s Hospital, went through the surgery where the new kidney was lost and as well as Arianna, almost. It was close and Arianna pulled through, but a new outlook on life was given.
More trips, excursions, and adventures were in the works. In 2009 Arianna went to South Dakota with Wired Outdoors on a Hunt of a Lifetime for Merriam’s turkey. At the same time Arianna and her family were part of a film titled “The Harvest.” The film was about 3 separate youth and their families who had gone on a Hunt of a Lifetime and the everyday struggles of those youth. Though it was invasive upon our lives, many people were affected by it.
Arianna began to get invited on many trophy hunts. Her first, a hawg. Her second, a ram. Arianna’s trophy room was filling up. Her first trophy buck, an 18 point buck, was taken when she was 18. A coincidence or part, of God’s Plan we may never know. This was documented by Andy Kaminski of Rugged Cross Outdoors, and he screamed, with excitement, louder than she did. Her final trophy was a 37 point buck she got when she was 21. Arianna enjoyed the outdoors, fishing, canoeing, hunting, or whatever, but mostly she enjoyed the camaraderie of being in the outdoors. Many hours were spent in the blind with dad and others. I think that’s what she relished the most.
Another big part of Arianna’s life was North Clarion School District, and North Clarion basketball. She was at nearly every game from the time she was 12 or 13.
In 2008, Arianna was chosen as North Clarion’s #1 fan by the boy’s team and was given the award on Senior Night. It was really something for the boys to share their night with a little girl in the stands. She made her parents take her to all the games, even the far away state playoff games. More than once she had a chat with the coach to guarantee a win. No pressure on the coaches of course, but they often pulled through even when they were considerable underdogs. The Number One Fan moniker followed her throughout her high school career and many bags of popcorn, and many miles on the car to follow what she called “Her Boys!” or “Her Girls!”
She was also becoming a celebrity in other schools, and players from the other teams would often come over to say “Hi!”, give her a High 5, or get a hug. In fact, at one playoff game the entire gym sang “Happy Birthday” to Arianna as she sat in her seat waiting for the game to begin. In fact there was also commentary by “The Governor” of C-93 fame about the whole episode.
The greatest day in her life happened when her senior class decided to make her Prom Queen. We were told earlier in the year that they were going to do this, but talking about it and doing it are not always the same. First she was nominated. Then a dress was made by one of her classmates, great-grandmothers. Then her nails were paid for by one of the many families who shared the bleachers with her at all the basketball games. Next when her mom went to pay for Arianna’s fancy new hairdo at the local hair studio, she was told it was already taken care of. Her date for the prom was a gracious young man whom Arianna had cheered for for many years, even on into college. Off to the prom they went, shivering the entire time, and Arianna won by a landslide 40 something or 50 something to 1. You can guess that 1 was Arianna voting for someone else. Arianna was always known for her big smile, but that night it was even bigger.
After graduation Arianna planned to attend college and become an Activities
Director for Children’s Hospital. That never quite panned out and in March of
2014 Arianna received a kidney transplant. In some ways her life became easier, and in many other ways it did not. Christmas of that year Arianna had a stroke and the family celebrated Christmas bedside in UPMC Presby. It was not the tastiest meal, but it was the most comforting.
Still numerous adventures, numerous North Clarion Basketball games, a few
Pirates and Penguins games. One National Collegiate Track and Field event to
watch Mitch Obenrader. A few more autographs. A lot more unconditional hugs
and kisses. And a smile that would light up a room. Arianna was compared to
Christ’s love, God’s presence, and Earth’s little bit of Heaven, and on Sept 30, 2018, her little body was just tired of fighting. She touched many a life in her short time here, but many believe the work that God had planned for her was done.
She taught us to laugh unconditionally. To smile as bright as the sun. To hug like we mean it. And finally to live every day to its fullest.
About the Race
The Fun Run/Walk will start promptly at 7:00 p.m. in front of the Saint Michael’s Church on Route 208. Racers will travel down Route 208 into Marble on Marble Road, where they will turn around at the end of Marble Road, behind Montana’s Country Cafe. Participants will then travel back up Route 208 into Fryburg, past Saint Michael’s Church and continue on Route 208, turning left onto the Old Fryburg Road, and past the Fryburg car wash. Racers will turn around at the end of the Old Fryburg Road, where there is a water station. They will run back up Old Fryburg Road, onto Route 208, and back to the finish line at the entrance of the Saint Michael’s Church parking lot on the left of Route 208.
Visit Fryburg Mayfest website here for a complete list of activities.
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