3rd annual Race for Wandell on tap for this weekend

Published 8:54 am Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Contributed Photo Josh Wandell and his family were appreciative of the community support at Race for Wandell.

Contributed Photo Josh Wandell and his family were appreciative of the community support at Race for Wandell.

This weekend’s three-kilometer Race for Wandell will begin at East Side Elementary School on Saturday, Sep. 19 at 10 a.m. to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and funding for former East Side Elementary Principal Dr. Josh Wandell’s medical expenses.
The largest annual run held in Elizabethton, the Race for Wandell draws crowds of over 1,000 people — all motivated to support a man who is very popular, not only with his students, but with many people throughout the community. Kelly Geagley, describe his nephew as a very humble man who has never asked for all of the events the community organizes to help him, but that living with ALS is very expensive, and every little bit helps.
“He was a runner and loved to race, so we just came up with the idea to have a race to honor him and to bring awareness to ALS and to raise money bc its an expensive disease,” said Geagley.
Participants may register in advance by visiting teamwandell.com by Friday, Sep. 18 at 5 p.m., or on race day at 8 a.m. at the school. Registration costs $20, and participants receive a T-shirt.
The opening ceremony will begin at 9:45 a.m., and the competitive race will begin at 10, followed by a fun run/walk at 10:45. Awards will be given to winners of the competitive race, but all are encouraged to participate. The route will take runners through downtown, to the Covered Bridge.
“When he first got diagnosed with ALS, we hadn’t heard of it, and we didn’t know anybody that had it,” sad Geagley. “I just think that because of the person he is, it’s made our community aware, and I think this kind of publicity is the only hope we have to find a cure.”
According to the ALS Association, at any given time, 20,000 Americans suffer from ALS, typically between the ages of 40 and 70. Wandell is only 37. He was diagnosed in June 2013 and retired on disability in May 2015. He is married with three children and remains positive and appreciative of all the events that the community independently organizes on his behalf.
“There’s always bad news, but to see all these people coming together for a good cause has just brought our community together,” said Geagley.
Shirley’s Home Cooking of Hampton is donating $1 for every plate ordered on race weekend, and on Saturday after the race, they will present Wandell with all the proceeds to help pay his medical bills.
Thirty-nine organizations and businesses are sponsoring the event.
“An awful thing has brought our community together, and that’s what Josh says in all his talks: that he’s not the only one with it, and if it brings awareness to it for other people, that’s what we can hope for,” sad Geagley. “There’s no medicine, there’s no vaccination. When they tell you you have it, they don’t give you any hope, but I think the awareness will bring hope.”

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