Community Embraces First-ever Princess Warrior 5K Event
The first-ever Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl took place on Saturday, Sept. 28 with more than 500 people participating in the event, despite the rain.
Jane Evelyn Fiemeyer, the Princess Warrior, was a vibrant second-grader at Wadena-Deer Creek Elementary School when diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of seven. Jane fought a courageous battle with cancer, but died peacefully at home on Sept. 6, just three weeks before her ninth birthday on Sept. 27, 2012. This event was an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer awareness.
“Jane had a dream to find a cure for cancer so that other young children and their families didn’t have to experience the pain that comes with a cancer diagnosis,” said Jil Fiemeyer, Jane’s mom. “The Princess Warrior 5K is an opportunity to keep Jane’s legacy alive and raise awareness about the bully we call childhood cancer.”
Event goers came out in their princess best to participate in the event that took place on the southwest side of Wadena. The 5K started and ended at Tapley Park – Jane’s favorite park in Wadena. The race was led by Terry Olson, in honor of his daughter Johanna who died from a recurring brain tumor. He was the Grand Marshall and he led the first runner by bike.
To make the event even more fun, homeowners along the route decorated their property in everything from crepe paper to balloons. Individuals along the route got into excitement including kids cheering on participants, Mayor Wayne Wolden passing out cookies at his home and Cindy Uselman, Jonell Ashfeld and Lois Lawson dressed as prom queens cheering for the participants at the Lawson residence and then again at the finished line.
The event was planned by a committee of including Jane’s second grade teacher, her physician, friends, family and her mom. More than three dozen volunteers helped with everything from set-up, to clean-up to directing traffic at each of the race intersections.
“We couldn’t have made this event without the plethora or volunteers who braved the rain to make it a memorable event,” said Jil.
Raising awareness for childhood cancer didn’t end at the event. Several area businesses chose to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Princess Warrior Fund for each participant that visited their establishment after the event.
“One of my favorite comments of the day was that it was the most fun ever had at a 5k,” said Jil. “The goal of the event was to have child-like fun. I believe that if you had fun, you will come back next year. If you come back next year, Jane’s legacy will continue. If Jane’s legacy continues, then Jane won’t be forgotten. If Jane won’t be forgotten, then neither will raising awareness for childhood cancer research.”
The next event is planned for Saturday, Sept.27, 2014.