July 11, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 12

Trail run fundraiser will benefit well-known regional charities

Team Gleason is hosting a series of three trail runs throughout the Inland Northwest, and the next one is set to take place at 49 Degrees North, Sunday, Aug. 4. Proceeds from the trail run will benefit the Gleason Initiative Foundation as well as Spokane’s Crosswalk Teen Shelter.

The course runs through the Colville National Forest throughout the Chewelah Peak area, starting at the Calispel Creek Lodge.

Jackie Gleason, a teacher at Medical Lake School District’s Michael Anderson Elementary and stepmother to former New Orleans Saints safety Steve Gleason, is among those helping to get the trail run going. Dominic Severino is doing a large portion of the groundwork in order to give the event the best start possible.

The trail run is broken into two possible options for participants, a 3.5-mile course and a 10-mile course through the ski slopes.

Overall, the goal of the trail run is to help support the Gleason Foundation which provides opportunities for people diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

“Dominic said it wasn’t just because he went to school with the boys it was more about who Steve is and what the organization is doing for awareness of ALS and to help those that have been diagnosed. An idea of Steve’s turned into a reality in a big way,” Gleason said. “Dominic and I see this as a concrete way to help an organization that is changing things.”

The foundation recently helped send one man diagnosed with ALS to Machu Picchu in Peru.

“This man would’ve never been able to do that,” Gleason said.

As the foundation continues to grow since its inception a couple of years ago, awareness of it has spread throughout the community.

“It’s amazing to me what this foundation is doing as far as getting awareness out,” Gleason said.

The personal connection to ALS has grown beyond what she’s seen with Steve and his family, as one of Gleason’s neighbors was recently diagnosed with the disease. Among the items they needed help with was converting their van so everyone could travel as a family.

A result of the numerous events hosted by the Gleason Foundation over the last couple of years has increased its presence in the Spokane region as well as nationwide. Events continue to grow and the support for one of the region’s most well-known and respected athletes. That support for the foundation helps drive the events it hosts throughout the year.

“More and more people are aware of it,” she said. “The community rallies around it because it’s where he’s from.”

While the event is gearing up for its first run, Gleason is hopeful that it will make a return next year

“I really hope it to continues to grow,” she said.

To register for the trail run, visit www.cptrailrun.com. Participants wishing to have a T-shirt from the event need to register by July 19. Otherwise, the deadline for registration is July 31.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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