Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1914 and it’s been a joyous highlight of spring ever since. But for some the day is bittersweet, dimmed through distance, absence, or tragedy. Take time to celebrate your mom—or alongside her—at the second annual Family Support Center of South Sound Mother’s Day 5K on May 8 and benefit local families in need.

xeroxThe Family Support Center offers education, resources, necessary supplies, supervised visitation, and homeless services. They utilize volunteer help from community members and accept donations of much needed clothing, funds, and materials.

mothers day 5k
Lucas Clifton had a visit from Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, while recovering from Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) rupture.

For one local family, however, the Mother’s Day 5K fundraiser went from a fun activity to life-changing turning point. The morning of last year’s inaugural 5K, Sheila Palmer and four of her six sons planned to run the race together. Palmer had a long-standing friendship with FSC Director of Programs, Operations, and Finance Trish Gregory and everyone was excited to participate after weeks of training.

But that morning, then 11-year-old Lucas wasn’t feeling well. His parents noticed stroke-like symptoms and rushed him to the hospital where he was quickly airlifted to Harborview Medical Center. Doctors performed immediate brain surgery to repair a 4 x 8 centimeter bleed after discovering an Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) rupture.

Lucas woke up completely paralyzed down his left side and spent over a month in the ICU and recovery centers. Says Palmer, “slowly every day a little bit came back” but he had to re-learn how to eat, write, and walk. “Recovery was very frustrating for him” but now, one year later, he has shown miraculous progress.

mothers day 5k
Lucas Clifton, pictured with his family, is determined to run his first 5K race with his mother.

During the initial scariest days, FSC’s Trish Gregory was supposed to attend an industry conference in Seattle. She instead hurried to her friend’s side for the entire week Lucas was in Harborview, even giving Sheila a few hours of much-needed alone time in Gregory’s hotel suite.

Says Palmer, “It just shows that the FSC is willing to be there for people; they even reached out to our family who live in Chehalis and don’t use any of their services.”

Upon finally arriving home, Palmer found her Mother’s Day card from Lucas in the mountain of paperwork. It read “I love you Mom and I can’t wait to run our first 5K together.”

mothers day 5k
The Mothers Day 5K supports the Family Support Center. Photo credit: ontherunevents.com.

And he kept his promise. This year, Lucas and his entire recovery team: brothers, mom, dad, and therapists, will be participating in the 5K. Though still suffering from weakness on his left side, he’s back in school and a thriving sixth grader.

“Lucas is an absolute inspiration; a true illustration of what can happen when you have family support and the love of your community to lean on in hard times,” says Gregory. “I am so excited to see not only Lucas and his family cross that finish line, but all of the runners who are taking time out of their Mother’s Day to help celebrate the strength, resiliency, and hope found in families and children throughout our community.”

mothers day 5k
Race day sign-ups are welcome for the May 8 Mothers Day 5K race that begins at the Hands On Children’s Museum. Photo credit: ontherunevents.com.

Runners of all ages and abilities can sign up for the 5K online by May 5, with registration packets available at 7:30 a.m. on race day. You can also register at the FSC’s offices at 201 Capitol Way North between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The race begins outside the Hands On Children’s Museum at 414 Jefferson Street NE Sunday morning at 8:45 a.m.

Follow the FSC online or on Facebook for upcoming events, most needed donation items, and a variety of volunteer opportunities. Direct any questions about the race to Natalie Moran at 360-754-9297 x. 218 or nataliem@fscss.org

But don’t forget to call your Mom first.

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