Running with the princess warriors
It's common for people who are growing older to begin to plan for the legacy they will leave behind. It can be the wealth they've accumulated, the property they own or a business they have built.
But what does an 8-year-old child leave behind so people know who they were, what they treasured? What can they give those they leave behind?
That is the problem Jane Fiemeyer wrestled with before she left this world five years ago.
Leukemia was soon going to take her little life away, and she had nothing to pass along to her family, her friends or the other children who had been touched by cancer.
"She wanted to find a cure for cancer and help other kids," said Jane's mother, Jil.
Saturday marked the fifth anniversary of the Princess Warrior 5K Run, Walk, Roll, Stroll or Crawl in Wadena. A record crowd of approximately 540 people turned out for the legacy Jane left behind.
The event honored nine young people who have faced the same reality Jane did. They each will receive 5 percent of the net proceeds to help them with their own struggle against cancer.
The good news about leukemia these days is that 90 percent of those who contact the disease survive. What Jane's mother wants is for the other 10 percent to also survive.
Jil has two other daughters, Katie, who is in the sixth grade and Anna, who is in fourth. Her oldest daughter would have been in the eighth grade this year. All three have needed help in coping with their loss, and Jane is helping them.
"For me talking about it is healing. It's helping me because it was Jane's wish," Jil said. "To know people haven't forgotten her."
Jane's sisters have also had some very good teachers.
"In these small towns it extends to communities," Jil said. It is not uncommon to find a large group from a town wearing the same t-shirts, supporting the same leukemia victim.
The Princess Warrior Run is less of an athletic event than a celebration.
"It's to celebrate life and remember how fragile it is and how important it is to support one another," Jil said.
Like a child's world—a big share of the Princess Warrior Run is about fun. Everyone dresses up, there are cookies, hot dogs, games and laughter- - where laughter, and courage—is really needed.
The race recently ended for one of the nine kids who the Princess Warrior 5K honored. Another is with Hospice. These are not older people who have lived full lifespans, they are kids.
"It's out of order," Jil said.