Dozens took part in a 5K run and walk held on a sunny Sunday afternoon for Dawn Merrick at Big Springs Baptist Church of Alcester, S.D.
Merrick has been battling cancers since 1993 and breast cancer since 2001. She will have a round of chemotherapy starting on Nov. 12. She receives help from the June E. Nylen Cancer Center.
“Pink is the New Black” was the theme of the day Oct. 21.
“It’s very emotional; very overwhelming,” said Merrick, of Chatsworth.
A total of about 150 walkers and runners participated, organizers said. About 40 runners completed the full 5K course.
So far more than $6,500 has been raised to assist Merrick.
“We were overwhelmed with the community response,” said Shelly Palmer, Director of Youth and Family Ministries at Big Springs Baptist Church.
“I grew up just east of Alcester, S.D. My family went to school at Big Springs School (a one-room schoolhouse) and it still stands. On the farm I would get up each morning and milk cows, work the fields and pull weeds in the Summer,” said Dawn, 56, the oldest child of Dick and Janet Merrick.
Merrick had two teachers at the country school then went on to graduate from Alcester-Hudson High School.
“God chose me to be born to a woman of strong Christian heritage and I grew up in the Big Springs Church and learned prayer is the foundation of a relationship with Christ. I am blessed with a strong, close family and my daughter Keiana is a faithful servant and prayer warrior. I have a colorful garden of friends, which brings adventure to my life. I am thankful for all the joy and goodness God has given me. We all have trials, so just keep your eyes on Jesus. I stand on this verse: “Proverbs 3: 5-6, ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him. and he will direct your paths’,” wrote Merrick to participants.
Earlier important dates for Merrick included one day in 1993 when she was told she had six months to live, planned her own funeral, due to removal of a tumor from her ovary to lesson the pain. “A miracle happened. The doctors gathered in my room, some in tears, and told me the cancer had died. The tumor fingers had curled up. No chemotherapy. Nothing but the awesome power of prayer healed me. I am still awed by this,” wrote Merrick to participants and friends.
On Nov. 13, 2003, Dawn’s son Jordan died. The family gained great support from their church and Dawn began a new job as a private health care provider.
On Nov. 5, 2010, Dawn’s brother Todd died after a five-year courageous battle with cancer.
Streets located near the church were used for the course on a sun-splashed, warm Sunday afternoon. Several from Akron but also as far away as Parker, S.D. participated.
“The course was good. It was a good run for a great cause,” said Robin Smith, who was with her daughter, Rachel, after the run.
A bake sale and a silent auction were also held at the church.
According to American Cancer Society, a mammogram is more important every year, and is free or low-cost for women over age 40. They may call 1-800-ACS-2345.