On Saturday September 20, I along with 690 other people participated in the 6th annual Diane Geppi-Aikens 5k Run and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk. I was truly impressed by the turnout for the event with people from all over the Baltimore community that came out to show their support for in remembering Diane Geppi-Aitkens. This run incorporates the Jesuit ideals that we are taught here at Loyola.
I had been hearing people talking about signing up for it two weeks prior to the event and had no idea what it was about. I did some research and found that eight yrs before she died, she had been battling with brain cancer while she was still coaching the women’s lacrosse team here at Loyola. During the course of her illness she received three surgeries before it became inoperable. I greatly admire this about her. The fact that she did not let anything get in her way when it came to what she loved doing is really very inspiring. Her determination to the college and especially to the players that she had coached over the years truly says a lot about her in regards that her will power is unmatched to be able to over come brain cancer and continue to coach. All of this and she was doing it from a wheelchair.
Being my first year here at Loyola, I had no idea how big this event was going to be. The reason that I signed up was the entire crew team was signing up as a group to show its support and does so every year. After signing in and receiving my number, I started to walk down towards the freshmen dorms where the run would begin. I could not believe my eyes when I saw just how many people were there. There was a gigantic mob of people all standing ready to go several plus feet back to the sidewalk and almost over-flowing around the sides. I had no idea it was going to be this big of an even, before realizing that it was not only people that were on campus. There were Loyola alumni, people from the Towson University community, and those from the surrounding local communities. It was nice to see everyone together not as individual communities but on that day one community of Baltimore. I remember while I was running down one of the rural streets a mom and her two little kids in strollers were on the sidewalk clapping and cheering on every that ran by. It brought such a big smile to my face to see that this many people actually cared about what was going on. In Kolvenbach’s “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice”, he says that “Saint Ignatius wanted love to be expressed not only in words but also in deeds.” (pg. 27) I truly feel that this is exactly what this whole event is about. It was not merely enough to say that you feel sad or your there for someone in the Aikens family, the run was a great way for others to actually show just how much they cared about Diane and what she did for those around her.
The fact that so many people from different communities came out to support the event is truly a great accomplishment. The run was able to bring people from all over Baltimore together for a very special event. There were also more than ten sponsors from the local area and even including Pepsi as one. This truly incorporates the Jesuit ideal of men and women for and with others. Together those that participated were able to make a difference with each and every other community, no matter if it was a family or an entire school. The run also is part of service for others as well with the proceeds for the run going to the trust fund for Diane’s children. These aspects of the run that accurately depict the Jesuit ideals make it not only show our acknowledgment and continued promotion of them, but also was a great deal of fun. I am definitely planning on participated for the next three years and possibly after I have graduated as well.