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Saturday, August 5, 2000 -- Benwood, WV
Debbie Green Memorial 5K Run & Walk
Story and photos by Julie Bertsch

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [O/A Run] [O/A Walk] [Run by Class] [Walk by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7]

[1998 Coverage] [1999 Coverage]

Debbie Green Memorial 5K
Ron Green (middle), and friends Tom, Scott, and Tom
Debbie Green was was just 4-years old when she was diagnosed with Leukemia in 1970. She went to WVU for treatments for 2 long years, and on February 10th in 1972, the town of Benwood held Debbie Green Day with a benefit show at St. John's School gymnasium. It was a very special day for Debbie, her family and her friends, and all who made the event possible. Unfortunately, only two months later on April 4, 1972, young Debbie passed away.

Many people may not know that Leukemia is still the number one killer of children between ages 1 and 15. With the best treatment, 72 percent of children with childhood leukemia will survive, and overall survival rates have doubled in the last 30 years according to the Leukemia Society of America.

Debbie Green Memorial 5K
Rollie Woods was certainly proud of his grandson
Now in it's 3rd year because of the hard work and dedication of Race Director, Ron Green, his family, and with the help of many friends, the Debbie Green Memorial 5K continues to help young patients who have been diagnosed with Leukemia every year. All of this year's proceeds will benefit 1 year-old Jakob Tweedlie, from Yorkville, Ohio, in Debbie's memory.

Over 600 participants eager to get going lined the street. When the signal was givien, the herd took off with the music booming. Right from the start, Eric Laughlin and Ricky Moore were pacing each other. Keeping it tight from mile to mile, these two top-notch runners kept battling back and forth. It was no surprise that by the time they returned to the cobblestones, it was 15 minutes exactly.

Debbie Green Memorial 5K
Ricky Moore looking stronger than ever
Moore had the edge as he headed for the finish under the bridge. He kicked it in as the crowd cheered, and finished 1st overall for the 3rd year in a row with his fastest time in the Debbie Green to date, 15:32.

Eric Laughlin(15:38), held onto the 2nd place spot with no problem, and finished 6 seconds behind Moore. David McLain rounded out the overall top spots with a time of 16:17.

The women really battled for the number one time, as many tough female runners returned for 2000.

Debbie Green Memorial 5K
Denny Stephan smiles and waves at the beginning
Cutting it so close that only a fraction of a second separated them at the finish line, Erin O'Reilly and Sarah Pratti roared down the last stretch, stride for stride. Elbow to elbow, the two young women gave a stellar performance for the crowd when Erin O'Reilly snagged 1st with the time of 19:46, and Sarah Pratti received 2nd in 19:46.7.

Having a strong 1st place finish for the women in the 1st Annual Tad Fitzsimmons 5K on July 15th, Charity Pefferman has been no stranger to taking home tall trophies this year. The top winner for the ladies in the 1999 Debbie Green 5K, Pefferman finished 3rd for 2000 with a time of 20:03.

Debbie Green Memorial 5K
Plenty of fun when it's all done
A newcomer to the 5K this year, but certainly a familiar face in the Wheeling area was race walker, Steve Bence. Bence(27:11), finished 1st overall in the walk. This win has been added to a long list of 1st place finishes for Bence.

Sweeping 1st for the ladies in the 5K walk was Kathy Campbell with a time of 32:24.

This event inspires hope, promotes family values, and shows us all what a strong community can accomplish together. Thanks to the Green family, the 5K participants, and the many volunteers & sponsors who make this race a reality every year, little Jakob Tweedie will have a big helping hand in his fight against Leukemia.

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another."
--- Walter Elliott