A little bit about a lot of things:
• Saturday morning of this year’s Newman Fall Festival will feel a little different this year.
Newman residents Randy and Kathy Rocha recently announced that after much prayer and reflection they have decided not to continue the annual fun run held in memory of their daughter Bailey and to raise awareness of childhood cancer.
Bailey passed away nearly 12 years ago at 8 years of age, a special life cut far, far too short. Her courage and “never give up” attitude while battling leukemia, and her many acts of generosity which brought comfort to other children facing serious illness, were an inspiration to many.
In her short time with us, Bailey set many examples which we would all do well to follow.
The Bailey’s Legacy Fun Run, which was held for nine years, served multiple purposes.
The popular event was a tribute to Bailey, and it was a fund-raiser for the Bailey’s Treasure Box, which operates through the Comforting Kids Foundation. The Treasure Box provided items of comfort for local children and young adults who were waging their own battles against serious illness.
But it was also a vehicle to raise cancer awareness, and for family and friends to come together to remember or honor their own loved ones whose lives were touched by cancer.
“Our biggest thing when we started was raising childhood cancer awareness and being a voice for the other families,” said Kathy. Fall Festival weekend was a perfect fit, she added.
“Bailey loved the Fall Festival,” she reflected.
To say that the event was embraced by the community would be an understatement of huge proportion.
The Rochas thought that perhaps a couple hundred people might turn out for the first run. Instead more than 400 showed up.....and that number grew to nearly 900 as the years went by.
Dedicated volunteers helped make the run possible each year, the Rochas emphasized, but some have gone on to their own lives elsewhere.....as have many in Bailey’s generation who knew her.
Given the commitment of time the plan requires and the emotional toll involved, the Rochas said, they reached the difficult decision to no longer organize the run and to step away from Bailey’s Treasure Box.
“It has always been bittersweet, and this has been a particularly emotional year for us,” Kathy expressed. “It has always been an emotional time.”
“It was for a wonderful cause,” Randy added, “but it was still draining.”
No single factor went into the decision, they emphasized, and they went into summer thinking that they would organize the 10th annual run.
But life, as so often is the case, had other plans.
“We feel like we accomplished what we set out to do. Once again our community rose to the occasion and surpassed our wildest dreams, as they have since the beginning,” Kathy shared. “I think we both knew it was time.”
There will be a run once again in conjunction with this year’s Fall Festival, we’re told, as an organization in which law enforcement families are involved has agreed to sponsor the event. A portion of proceeds will go to the Newman Police K-9 Association, and I’m sure the event will be well-supported.
But we would be remiss if we failed to express our appreciation to the Rocha family and their group of loyal volunteers for making Bailey’s Legacy Fun Run a special part of our lives and community for the past nine years. Thank you.
• So the burning question for the better part of two years has finally been answered....yes, Newman is actually getting its Taco Bell.
Seems like this was a project with numerous fits and starts, for whatever reason, but when you see people out moving dirt, well, hopefully all goes smoothly from here.
Make of it what you will, but I don’t recall the last time so many people were so excited about a local project.
• Just a reminder.....folks who need to dispose of expired or unneeded prescription medications may do so without charge at the Newman Police Department.
We were pleased to hear from the PD staff recently that the pharmaceutical collection box has been well used by the community.
That’s one of those services that you really don’t think about until it is needed....at which point it becomes very important indeed.
That’s a great service to have available.