Run for Holland helps community with more than $31,000 in grants
SPRUCE PINE – Hundreds gather annually for the Run for Holland 5K and 10K races each spring. The race is designed to raise awareness and funds for disabled people in the local community.
More than $31,000 has been granted to various organizations to date. The size and purpose of grants differ based on the need of the organization.
Some of the projects made possible through grants raised by the Run for Holland include Camp Funshine’s ability to have four seasonal events for the disabled community; Intermountain Children’s Services Inc. purchasing screening tools to assess learning and maximize each child’s abilities; Gouge Elementary and Greenlee Primary purchasing SMART Boards to aid in creative lessons that can adapt to individual learning styles; and the Mitchell-Yancey Partnership For Children received a grant to acquire toys specifically designed to promote sensory stimulating activities were all made possible by local sponsors and proceeds from the race fees.
Run for Holland was started by Adam and Brooke Burleson in 2014. Just five months into their pregnancy they received a test result indicating a 99 percent chance their baby girl would be born with Down syndrome.
Scared and uncertain and with support from family and friends they pressed on with a new outlook. One of the resources their genetic counselor provided was a short story titled “Welcome to Holland” by Emily Perl Kingsley. It’s a story that describes their journey like that of a couple who planned a dream trip to Italy only to find themselves in Holland.
While at first the couple questioned why they were sent to Holland while their friends were celebrating trips to Italy, they realized Holland wasn’t a horrible place – it was just a different place. Everyone they knew was busy coming and going to Italy.
“And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away … because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss. But … if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.” With the reading of that story, the Burleson’s decided to name their daughter Holland. But when running for Holland, people are not just running for her, but for every family that has and will travel to Holland when they thought they were going to Italy.