PRINCETON — Princeton Christian Academy is planning its first run/walk 5K event to help raise funds for new gymnasium bleachers.
Next year, the school will be hosting sport tournaments for the first time in many years, and the current bleachers are aging and on their way to becoming a hazard.
The school is looking to raise $20,000 to purchase the new bleachers.
Amy Thompson, who is part of the Steering Committee for the Eagle Run/Walk 5K, explained how PCA is looking forward to hosting other area teams, and the opportunity has allowed them to come together and put on a community event to help raise money for something that will benefit the tournaments.
“I’m really proud of PCA because they see this is the future, and a lot of places don’t prepare. This isn’t going to be a last minute thing,” she said.
The walk will be for all ages and is scheduled for June 14. There will be medals available for the first-, second- and third-place winners in 12 age divisions. Participants can register online at Eaglerun5k.net. The Steering Committee is also looking for sponsors for the event. Those interested can call PCA at 815-875-2933.
A special part of this 5K event will be the pace car representative, who will lead the walkers and runners.
“Our goal was to pick somebody that PCA has prayed for and somebody who is an instrumental part of the school,” Thompson said.
Long-time employee and volunteer at PCA and member of Princeton Bible Church, Beverly Neff, was their pick.
Neff has been involved at PCA for almost two decades. She started out as a volunteer monitoring recess once or twice a week and shortly later was hired to monitor recess five days a week. She has also been a long-time active member of the church.
Aside from the many hats she wears between the church and school, Neff is an inspiration and success story for students and staff. She is a cancer survivor — this past March marked five years of being cancer free.
When she was first diagnosed and underwent chemotherapy and radiation, she was determined to never miss a day at PCA.
Looking back Kristen Wolbrecht, PCA School Board member, remembers Neff scheduling chemo, radiation and doctor appointments around her work and volunteer activities.
When asked what kept her strong and motivated during the rough times, she immediately opened up about a certain night during her battle.
“At 2 a.m., there wasn’t a soul around … and I remember I wasn’t sleeping, and I just started crying and honestly I had not a clue what I was crying about except that a two-to-three hour procedure had turned into four hours, and two-to-three days in the hospital turned into six days and being readmitted, and an 8 percent chance of having a colostomy turned into a certainty.
“I wasn’t eating, sleeping, couldn’t sit, and when I finally stopped crying I remember feeling like I was surrounded by arms holding me and this small voice said, ‘It’s OK, we can do this.’ That two letter word, ‘we,’ changed everything, From there I just kind of sailed. My perspective on things changed. It wasn’t just me, it was the Lord and me, and we could do it.”
Neff stayed active in her volunteer activities with the school, church and the community and even kept up mowing her yard when it was needed.
Wolbrecht explained Neff has been able to help fellow cancer survivors in the church, and she is able to encourage others through their battle and comfort them during the hard times.
“She has a presence here, and when she got sick (everyone) was on their knees ... She’s just been a real cool testimony, and she’s a very strong lady,” she said.
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