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Kaci Edelbrock Memorial 5K Run/Walk on Oct. 3 sends its proceeds back into community

MONROE — When 350-plus runners take off at Lake Tye Park on Sunday, Oct. 3, the broader community is who benefits.
The Kaci Edelbrock Memorial 5K Run/Walk serves as a fundraiser for a growing tree of charitable projects under Kaci’s name: One gives teddy bears to fire departments and medical services; another gives an annual scholarship to a Monroe High senior; another delivers backpacks to students in need; yet another gives kindness cards.
Joni and Boyd Edelbrock want to ensure their spirited little girl is remembered. They have made the best they can by creating the Big Smile Big Heart Foundation.
The foundation’s next big endeavor is a getaway camp for families confronted by sudden trauma. The family this summer bought land off of Highway 203 to start developing the camp. They envision baseball fields, pumpkin patches and animals, Joni Edelbrock said.
There might be no other place like it in the state.
“It’s to create a place of joy and healing for families, for kids who have been through trauma,” Joni Edelbrock said. “A place where people can come, where kids can come and smile.”
Unfortunately, the family knows firsthand.
Kaci, age 6, and her grandmother Lois Edelbrock were killed by a catastrophic RV accident while the family traveled home from a camping trip Sept. 3, 2018. Others riding in the RV received serious injuries. A blown tire started it.
Losing so much shaped their mission to help others. “We know we want to take something that can demolish you and find the light,” Joni Edelbrock said.
Here we are today.
At the 5K, a bronze statue of Kaci Edelbrock will be unveiled by the baseball fields at Lake Tye Park. Kaci was a softball player and T-ball player. 
The statue, titled “Kaci at the Bat,” is itself a story of generosity.
Tod Johnson, an auto dealership owner who coached a different team, had the statue made.
“It’s the greatest honor a parent could get,” Joni Edelbrock. They didn’t know Johnson that well. He approached them wanting to give the honor.
The inscription he chose reads Grit, Determination and Joy.
“She was the littlest one on the field but with the biggest heart,” Joni Edelbrock said.
The community’s support helps propel the Big Smile Big Heart Foundation. The foundation returns it back to the community. The annual Monroe High senior scholarship, for example, will be raised each year to 2030, the year Kaci Edelbrock would have graduated high school.
Kaci Edelbrock’s spirit will go on to provide many years of giving.

Kaci Edelbrock Memorial 5K Run/Walk signups
Pre-registration for the Kaci Edelbrock 5K is until Oct. 1. Registration is $30. To register, go to www.bigheartbigsmile.org/kaci-5k
Latecomers can register on-site. Register at the gazebo at Lake Tye Park.

 

  

 


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