14th Annual Runathon proves Lawton community cares for its own

John Crosby was a third grader at Lawton in 2001 when he died of cancer.

By Jo Mathis
AAPS District News

The 14th Annual Lawton Elementary Runathon will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25 at the school.
The event brings the Lawton community together to celebrate the life of John Crosby, who was a third grader at the school when he passed away from adrenal gland cancer in 2001.
John’s family created the John R. Crosby Foundation (www.johnrcrosby.org) in his memory to provide continued support for families affected by childhood cancer.

This photo from last year shows that all ages are welcome.

John’s mother, Paula Crosby Flake, said she’s expecting another great turnout.
“No matter how much time goes by, we feel the love and support from our wonderful Lawton community, and for John’s foundation and its many endeavors,” said Flake, who also has two other sons, Walter and Henry, who attended Lawton. “It’s heartwarming.”

Runners line up at last year’s runathon.

Since its inception in 2001, the runathon has been collaboration between the foundation and the Lawton PTO, and has raised more than $150,000 to benefit both organizations.
This year’s event will feature a one-mile fun run with three staggered start times, as well as an obstacle course suitable for younger children.
All proceeds from the runathon benefit the John R. Crosby Foundation and the Lawton Elementary PTO, and families are encouraged to collect donations.
Runners of all ages must register to participate either before or at the event. All registered participants will receive a numbered bib that will be required to run/walk.
Susan Crane said she’s excited to chair this year’s runathon.
“This event truly epitomizes the generous spirit of the Lawton family and helps make important connections between our students and the community.”

The dedication of Lawton students and their families is “amazing,” said committee member Sarah Schairbaum.
“I have been involved with planning the runathon over the past seven years, and although the structure of the event has evolved over the years, the will of our students has never wavered,” said Schairbaum. “It is truly humbling to be involved with something so positive. Although I may not have known John himself, his legacy lives on through the dedication of his family and the vibrancy of the Lawton Runathon.”
Flake said she’s enjoyed working with dynamic committee members over the years.
“We continue to be blessed by the support of so many volunteers and friends to continue to participate in this event,” she said, “even years after their own children have graduated from Lawton.”

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