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The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Lizzy’s Walk of Faith to host annual 5k

Lizzys+Walk+of+Faith+Foundation+is+hosting+its+annual+5k+at+Cosmo-Bethel+Park+Sept.+16.+The+event+will+happen+from+8%3A30+a.m.+to+11%3A00+a.m.+and+include+pop-up+shops%2C+food+trucks+and+its+traditional+walk-run.+
Bailey Blackburn
Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation is hosting its annual 5k at Cosmo-Bethel Park Sept. 16. The event will happen from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and include pop-up shops, food trucks and its traditional walk-run.

The Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation is hosting its annual 5k on Saturday, Sept. 16. The race, which can be either run or walked, will take place at Cosmo-Bethel Park, starting at 8:30 a.m. 

The 5k acts as a commemoration for the life of Lizzy Wampler, who grew up in Columbia before losing her life at ten years old to Osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that disproportionately appears in children. Her parents established Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation in honor of their daughter, which aims to support families going through pediatric cancer, including paying for medical bills, living expenses, traveling expenses and even paying for funerals. The foundation also gives money to other organizations that fight cancer or support families dealing with cancer, including the Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. 

The 2023 event will be the foundation’s 6th run-walk. John Wampler, Lizzy Wampler’s father and event coordinator, expects this year to be their biggest event yet. He shared that last year the event had around 700-800 people, while this year, the run-walk is on track to have 1,000 or more participants. 

“I have to just, you know, give glory to God for growing this event and touching people’s hearts in the community as we continue to spread awareness and share Lizzy’s story,” John Wampler said. “We are [seeing] an increasing amount of open doors to share [the story]. We have several businesses that have jumped on board. They are really, really helping us to get the word out and sign people up.”

The race has support from businesses across Columbia, such as The Grind South, which will have a coffee truck at the event; Casa Maria’s, which will have breakfast tacos; and Kona Ice, which will be giving out snow cones. Cheer and dance teams from across Missouri will also attend the race, including Mizzou’s Golden Girls, the Kansas City Chiefs Cheerleaders and the RBHS Bruin Girls. 

The event will also have special awards to present to local families that have battled cancer. John Wampler said  they will be presented with specially designed “Lizzy medals” during the event. “It’s a chance for everybody to come together and honor not only Lizzy, who fought bravely [against] childhood cancer, but to honor many others [who] are fighting childhood cancer.” 

In 2022, Lizzy’s Walk of Faith raised $103,000. For 2023, the foundation set a goal for $125,000. This goal has already been surpassed, with an estimated $140,000 raised to spread awareness and fund cancer research. John Wampler said the money raised goes to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and then to the Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Foundation, the foundation he set up in honor of his daughter. 

We shared birthdays just a week apart and both had a love and passion for dance. I am a part of the Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Junior Board, and am honored to be able to carry on her legacy and fight for the cure to pediatric cancer. I am super excited to be involved with the event in a new way and get to share it with all my Bruin Girl friends.

— Junior Violet Gilbert, Bruin Girl

RBHS student communities have gotten involved, with groups like the Bruin Girls and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) coming together to support the event. 

“The students are very important to us,” John Wampler said. “From the very first year, they have brought so much passion, so much excitement and enthusiasm.” 

Junior Violet Gilbert, RBHS Bruin Girl, knew Lizzy Wampler before she passed, and is very passionate about this event. She said she was very close with her in elementary school, before and during her diagnosis with Osteosarcoma.

“We shared birthdays just a week apart and both had a love and passion for dance,” Gilbert said. “I am a part of the Lizzy’s Walk of Faith Junior Board, and am honored to be able to carry on her legacy and fight for the cure to pediatric cancer. I am super excited to be involved with the event in a new way and get to share it with all my Bruin Girl friends.” 

Many RBHS students plan to attend the event. Senior Meera Mehta is attending with friends to make a mark in the fight against cancer. 

“It’s a great opportunity to come together as a community to make a positive impact in the fight against cancer, as well as support the individuals and their loved ones currently battling cancer,” Mehta said. “By participating, people can learn about the disease as a whole and help fund support services and research that could lead to better outcomes and treatments for cancer patients.” 

The theme for the 6th annual Lizzy’s Walk of Faith is “Your story brings strength and hope.” This will be written on signs for the event, which John Wampler hopes will be a way to inspire everyone who shows up. 

“[People] could be down,” Wampler said. “They could be depressed. They could have woken up on the wrong side of the bed and had a bad night. But when they see that sign, and when they see those kids being honored with medals, they’re going to leave a different person.  They’re going to leave changed, they’re gonna leave inspired, touched and impacted for the good.” 

Lizzy Wampler’s story is featured throughout the event as a way to highlight perseverance and strength in adversity. Before her passing, John Wampler said her final request was to have her body donated to cancer research so that “no child would go through what she went through.” Lizzy’s Walk of Faith furthers that mission by bringing the community together. 

“They say you beat cancer by how you live,” John Wampler said. “And even though Lizzy lost her battle to cancer, she won in so many areas in life. We will not sleep until we find a cure for Osteosarcoma.”

Will you be attending Lizzy’s Walk of Faith? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Contributors
Ella Wampler, Staff Writer
Senior Ella Wampler is a staff writer for Southpaw and Bearing news. She adores the 2017 remake of Murder on the Orient Express, ongoing inside jokes and consuming unreasonable amounts of caffeine.
Bailey Blackburn, Photo Editor
Senior Bailey Blackburn is the photo editor for Southpaw and Bearing News. She is also the president of Film Club and is on the RBHS Cross Country and Track and Field team. In her free time she enjoys reading, listening to music, and painting.

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    John WamplerSep 14, 2023 at 1:57 pm

    Love this! Good job Ella!!

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