On Saturday, May 19 at 8 a.m., the East Bay High School Student Government Association will host the first 5K4Q Run & Fun Run at E.G. Simmons Park, 2401 19th Ave. NW, Ruskin, to raise funds for the continued care of the Bloomingdale Library rape survivor.
It has been nearly four years since the East Bay alumnus andf ormer student government member was brutally attacked outside of the Bloomingdale Regional Library. The Bloomingdale Library survivor, as she has come to be known, continues to make improvements in her recovery, but the road to a complete return to health is a long and costly one for this young woman, now 22.
The members of the student-run organization are too young to remember the student, but are inspired by her determination, and felt compelled to help her in any way that they can.
The group also seeks to bring back the survivor’s identity as a fellow East Bay student, where some of her best memories were made before the attack changed her life forever.
The 5K race will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 19. A 1-mile fun run will also be conducted at 9:15 a.m. Runners may register online by visiting the run website.
Registration fees are $25 for 5K runners, $20 for students (18 and under with school ID) and $10 for the fun run. Participants will receive T-shirts, and medals will be available for the top three finishers in age group categories.
The student government is also seeking business partner sponsors and volunteers to help make the event a success.
For information, contact event organizers Kendall MacDonald or Kaley Bishop at 5K4QRUN@gmail.com or 813-364-GO5K (4655).
In April 2008, the senior at East Bay High School was making plans to attend the University of Florida on a full scholarship when she was brutally raped, beaten and left to die outside of the Bloomingdale Regional Library while dropping off books at the library book drop.
Her attacker, Kendrick Morris, a Bloomingdale High School student, was found guilty of the crime and is now serving time in prison.
Equipped with an incredible will to survive, she did not die that night, and has spent the last four years working hard to recover from the brutal attack. The young woman cannot walk, talk, see or eat on her own, but she is making improvements. She communicates through widening her eyes, smiling and clenching her fists. She requires around-the-clock care and attends daily physical, occupational and experimenta ltherapies to aid her recovery. The recovery process is slow, but noticeable, as she slowly makes strides toward normalcy.