Families, friends and the community will join in a charity event and race, the Rae of Light 5K, at Sugarhouse Park on Saturday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m.
The race honors Valerie Rae Bradshaw, 29, who passed away earlier this summer, with all proceeds being donated to the General Mission Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
“It doesn’t matter if we raise ten dollars or $10,000,” said Chrissy Ciancanelli, director of the Rae of Light 5K. “If we’ve helped one person feel hope and love then we’ve been successful.”
On June 20, 2013, Valerie Rae Bradshaw and two others, Marilyn Jackman, 57, and Jessica Jackman, 22, were killed in a boating accident at Lake Powell. “The accident was so tragic that we wanted to have something that could turn it around and turn it into a story of hope and a story of light,” Ciancanelli said.
Ciancanelli and Bradshaw met while studying English at BYU and became best of friends. “Everyone that knew (Bradshaw) said that the room just lit up when she was there because of her happiness and enthusiasm for life. … She was always serving and loving and serving those she came in contact with,” Ciancanelli said.
Ciancanelli and Bradshaw graduated in 2007 and 2009 respectively. Upon graduation, Bradshaw served a mission for the Church, where her love for serving others continued to grow.
Scott Dunaway, Assistant Dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at BYU, was Bradshaw’s mission president in Milan, Italy. “She was the kind of missionary that every mission president would love to have. Everybody who knows her remembers she has this radiant smile. It was very engaging; she was a happy person and would work hard, very faithful, very dedicated.”
The race is the first of its kind with the unique donation. “What better way to honor her than to do a 5K and give the money to the missionary fund of the Church?” said Bradshaw’s mother, Viki Bradshaw. “With all the missionaries going out now, I think that will be a great donation. We are thrilled about that also.”
Local companies have been helping and donating their resources to the race, one being Vox Marketing Group, a local Provo company.
“Everything about it has just been heaven,” Ciancanelli said with emotion. “Miracle after miracle. I think anyone who participates in any way will feel that.”
The race officials hope to accomplish the following, according to Bradshaw Family and Friends of Rae of Light 5K: “We hope to honor Val, her love for the gospel of Jesus Christ and her love of people. By sharing her legacy of unforgettable service, we hope all become better people and make our influence felt as did Valerie Rae Bradshaw.”
The cost of the race is $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 5 – 11, and free for kids under five, with a $5 fee for t-shirts for all. Cost of registration will not go up, but T-shirts will not be available after September 18. Registration, donation and sponsor information can be found online at www.raeoflight5k.com.
“I know some students may not have money,” Bradshaw’s mother said. “Even if you can’t pay the money, come out and run.”