5K run, lunch to benefit family

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 12, 2011

Having a new baby can put a financial strain on any family, but for those who must deal with a medical crisis following the birth of their new baby, it’s especially tough.

As is the case for Brian and Kerri Kelley of Pleasant Home, whose son, Jacob, was born with multiple life-threatening birth defects.

His aunt, Leigh Newby, said the weeks following Jacob’s March 23 birth have been spent at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hospital, where the baby has undergone two surgeries to repair the defects. He’s home now, but still requires weekly trips to UAB to monitor his progress. A third surgery is set for June 7.

“They are severe,” Newby said of the defects. “And Brian and Kerri are working very hard to keep it together.”

She said Brian is self-employed and Kerri is a part-time employee at the post office. Neither has worked since the birth of the baby.

The couple has three other children – Vance, 5; Presley, 3; and Kate, 1. Family has pulled together in every way possible during this difficult time, Newby said.

And while it is difficult for the public to help ease the emotional toll the family is experiencing, there is something everyone can do to help ease the financial burden.

Newby said a benefit 5K run is set for May 21 at Harold’s Discount Furniture.

“Kerri and I started running 5Ks about a year ago,” she said. “She really enjoyed it, a way for her to have a break. After she got pregnant again, I started looking for partner, and I found a great group of women.

“We had just finished the Rattlesnake Rodeo 5K and were sitting on the curb, and the idea for us to do a run for a fundraiser just came to us it seemed like all at one time,” she said.

“Those extended stays in Birmingham add up in a hurry, plus you have to eat. Add that to $4 a gallon gas, and it makes for an expensive trip.

“Everyone wants to do something (to help the family),” she said. “There’s only so many who can clean kitchen, cook supper or wash clothes, but there are so many who want to help in some way, so this run is it. This will help them.”

Since the group put their run plan into motion, the project has steam-rolled. Everything needed from T-shirts and hamburgers has been donated for the event. At present, everything that is collected during the day from donations and registration fees will be donated to the family.

“And I can say, that knowing the good Christian people they are, whatever they don’t use it will be passed on,” she said. “Someone told me that Brian and Kerri need to worry about getting Jacob well, not about how they’re going to pay their bills, and this benefit will do that for them.”

Registration forms are available at Southern Independent Bank in Andalusia, Harold’s and the Piggly Wiggly or on race day at 5 p.m. Cost is $20 for adults, $15 for students and $5 for the fun run for children up to age 7.

The race will begin at 6 p.m. and the fun run at 7 p.m.

Hamburger plates will be on sale for $5 each beginning at 5 p.m., and tents and local entertainment will be provided.