Sophie’s Angel Run

Runners at the starting line praying before the start of the race

Runners at the starting line praying before the start of the race

Andrew Cole '14

Last Sunday, over 2,400 people gathered at St. Jude grade school in honor of Sophie Meinhardt, and they honored her with a 5k walk.

Sophie was born on February 26, 2005, later she was diagnosed with a brain tumor on August 18 and passed away on August 21, 2006. And no one has forgotten.

The Meinhardts wanted to turn this tragedy into a positive. Their motto since day one has been “better not bitter”. Thus creating an annual run/walk in 2007 at St. Jude’s Oktoberfest to raise awareness and funding for Pediatric Brain Tumor Research and to honor their beloved daughter.

The race started at the back of Rost’s parking lot (next door to St. Jude), when the gun shot went off, over 2,400 people start running or walking alongside their friends and family through the main street of Bridgetown and continued through neighboring streets and eventually ended back in the Rost parking lot where there were refreshments and medical assistance if needed. After everyone finished, they walk next door and enjoy the Oktoberfest at St. Jude knowing they just walked in support of a good cause.

Elder’s very own Coach Dickman came in first at this year’s race finishing in 17 minutes and 16 seconds.

The Sophie’s Angel Run has definitely impacted the medical community. From 2008-2010 they donated over $135,000 collectively. In 2011 they donated $55,226.05, in 2012 it was $70,266.05 and in 2013 they will again exceed their goal of $50,000 per year. They end each donation with 226.05 because that is Sophie’s birthday, February 26, 2006 (2/26/05).

“When we first started this run, our goal was to have 300 runners and donate $3,500,” said Mark Meinhardt, Sophie’s father and chairman of the foundation. “Due to the overwhelming support of our Westside Catholic community, the pure compassion that most people have toward sick children and a little help from our Angel Sophie, this event has exceeded our wildest dreams.”

The Meinhardt’s do not just stop at giving money to medical research. Each year at St. Jude and Our Lady of Visitation, they offer a $500 scholarship to outstanding seventh graders for their eighth grade year.

The Westside community has long standing tradition of picking each other up when one falls. Sophie’s Angel Run is a prime example of this tradition. Though the Meinhardt’s may grieve over their beloved daughter forever, they know their community is there holding them from falling.