Smiles For Sophie Bash and Dash Registration Opens
Last year more than 1,000 people participated; event returns on July 4.
A race that celebrates the birthday of a young Avon Lake girl who passed away from pediatric brain cancer before her fifth birthday, is entering its fifth year and expected to be larger than ever.
Last year’s Fourth of July Smiles For Sophie Birthday Bash and Dash drew almost 1,000 runners, raising funds in honor of Sophie Quayle, who was born on July 4, 2003.
The race and festival returns on July 4 at Walker Road Park on what would have been Sophie’s ninth birthday and includes a 5k race and a 1.5-mile family friendly walk.
Sophie’s mother, Emily Quayle, said the event continues to grow each year.
“Last year we had 900 registered and another maybe 200-300 kids and volunteers,” Quayle said. “It continues to grow each year.”
There are a few changes this year, including a family fundraising page available online.
“You can customize and email it out,” Quayle said.
Fundraising this way is important she said, since the registration fee is primarily used to cover race expenses including timers and giveaways, such as shirts.
“This year with fundraising we’ve added a little incentive,” Quayle said. “If you raise $100 or more you’ll get a dri-fit T-shirt that aren’t available for purchase.”
Those who reach the $100 milestone, "Fundraising Firecrackers," will also be entered into a raffle for two iPods.
“Even if 500 people raise $50 or $100 each, that would be huge,” Quayle said.
The event, which honors those stricken, but remains a celebration of Sophie’s brief life, has a festival feel and has become a favorite event on Cleveland’s west side.
“We’re looking forward to seeing old faces but some new ones also,” Quayle said. “There will be tons of games, carnival type games, sno-cones.”
The Quayles, including father Marc Quayle, 6-year-old Sarah and 1-year-old Marie, will be on hand at the event which will also include face painting, bounce houses, games, a kids race, crafts and more. Concession-stand food is available for purchase. A silent auction, a Chinese raffle, and a 50-50 raffle will be held.
“And because it was Sophie’s birthday, we want this to be her birthday party, too,” her mother added.
To date, Smiles For Sophie Forever foundation, started in 2008 has raised more than $200,000.
Funds are earmarked not just for research, but to assist families who are experiencing what the Quayle family went through in the form of family grants, donations to The Cure Starts Now Foundation and funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
How to register
Registration begins at 7 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. Children’s activities begin at 10 a.m.
Pre-Registration through June 17 ($25 ages 11 and up, $20 under 10)
Includes commemorative race t-shirt, goody bag, entry into random door prize drawing, post-race refreshments including birthday cupcake & wristband for access to kids’ activities (ages 10 and under).
Late registration, June 18th through July 4 ($30 all ages). Includes post-race refreshments including birthday cupcake & wristband for access to kids’ activities (ages 10 and under). Commemorative “Runner-in-Spirit T-shirts are first-come, first-served for $20.