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Gracie’s Promise 5K set for July 14

July 5, 2018

TORRINGTON — The fifth annual Gracie’s Promise 5K Walk/Run will be held on July 14 at Pioneer Park to support the families of critically ill children.

The group is named after Gracie Claborn, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2009 when 11 months old. Gracie’s family and friends were inspired to start a group that would help families of sick children aged 21 and younger pay for the cost of daily life — gas and food and loss of work due to travel.

Bud Watson, Gracie’s great-grandfather and one of the founding members of the non-profit, said the group tries to give hope to families during trying times. Watson said the promise is for the family: “The promise is I will master this and live on.”

Over the past nine years, the group has helped 72 families, both in Wyoming and in other states. The non-profit, as of July 3, is currently serving 25 families.

Watson said the group has no stipulations for the money’s use.

“Sometime they have to use it for medicine, but most of the time it’s used for daily expenses,” he said.

Every year, the group hosts three fundraisers: a festival of trees around Thanksgiving, sweetheart cakes for Valentine’s Day and the 5K run/walk. The fundraisers average out to around $50,000 per year, which go to helping families in need.

The families Gracie’s Promise help are usually from Wyoming or the surrounding states, although the charity is frequently asked to help extended families outside of the area.

“We try to keep it locally, “but if you’re family is all over the country, you want to help them however you can, so we reach out,” he said.

The main event on July 14 will be a 5K run/walk at Pioneer Park, with registration starting at 7:30 a.m. and an 8 a.m. start. Alongside the run will be a pancake feed from 8:30-10:30 a.m., and a motorcycle poker run through eastern Wyoming starting at the park. Registration for the motorcycle run starts at 10:30 a.m. and the run begins at 11. Registration for all events includes a donation to Gracie’s Promise, through cash, check or PayPal.

The day will end with a live auction at Bucking Horse Steak House at 7:17 p.m.

Gracie, who is now 10-years-old and cancer-free, continues to be involved in the group and often attends fundraisers, including running in the 5K.

“She’s a little queen,” Watson said. “She’s been to a lot of our functions.”

While not every child the group helps survives, Watson said Gracie’s Promise tries to make life a little easier for parents.

“We can’t prevent it, but we can ease a lot of pain,” he said.