Annual color run ready for Saturday

On Saturday April 21 at 8 a.m., the gun will go off at Dunkerton High School to begin the fifth annual Do Better. Be Better. color run. All proceeds will go toward the Do Better. Be Better. scholarship. One student from Cedar Falls and another from Dunkerton schools will receive a $500-$1,000 scholarship to go toward their education for the following semester.

On Oct. 25, 2013, physical education teacher Jamie Smith suffered a stroke in the pons of her brain, at the young age of 32. The stroke was caused by a cavernous malformation cavernoma (CM). It is a vascular abnormality in the central nervous system, which leads to a cluster of dilated vessels.

While going through this hard time, Smith turned to Facebook to keep her friends and family updated on her situation.

After receiving a tremendous amount of support through her posts, she was encouraged to start a blog in which she journaled her victories and obstacles.

In a post she mentioned how she was learning to “Be better. Do better,” and the name stuck.

Soon after recovering from her first stroke the Do Better. Be Better. foundation was started. The student leadership team, the graduating class of 1999 and the Dunkerton principal at the time, Justin Urbanek, created the Do Better. Be Better. Scholarship in Smith’s honor.

“The scholarship means the world to me. I am incredibly honored that my graduating class began this in my name. It is truly humbling to see so many people donate their time and money to support Do Better. Be Better. and everything that it stands for,” Smith said, “The entire non-profit foundation has given me a positive outlook on all the adversities and challenges that I have been through personally.”

The foundation also raises money to help families going through difficult times similar to Smith’s situation.

Student senate Advisor Erin Gardner was contacted by Urbanek shortly after talk of the scholarship at Dunkerton.

“Mr. Urbanek, Mrs. Smith and myself all live down the same road. Because Mrs. Smith went to Dunkerton, (Urbanek) started it, then contacted us to see if we wanted to go in and help,” Gardner said.

From then a partnership between the schools began. Each school takes turns alternate years hosting the color run, which includes marking the course, throwing color and cheering on participants.

“It is good for our students along with Dunkerton. It is nice to be able to work with another school to want to make a positive effort,” Gardner said.

Applicants for the scholarships are asked to write an essay about how they have overcome adversity or how they have helped someone overcome adversity.

The 2017 Cedar Falls scholarship recipient was Adison Pace who wrote of his personal experience with cancer and not living in fear.

“A big part of that for me was seeing how Mrs. Smith carries herself each day. She’s really an inspiration,” Pace said.

This 5k is more than raising money to help community members, it is a symbol of coming together, overcoming adversity.

The Do Better. Be Better. Color run is for all ages. You can sign up online from the Do Better. Be Better. Facebook page. All are invited to run, walk, or bike the route. There will also be an opportunity to receive three make up gym credits.

It’s your time to live your life and be the person you want to be. Learn how to Do Better. Be Better. one day at a time.

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