With a release of 12 doves, the 12th-annual Noah's Quest 5K run will begin at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, June 24. Each bird represents one year since event coordinator Carol Cohen lost her stillborn child Noah.
From an emotional standpoint, at least, Noah's death was inexplicable, but Cohen's cause has remained clear since its inception: to support families who have lost a child.
This year's event takes place at Sandy Bluff Park, 36801 Goldenrain St., and includes a kiddie run, 10K and 5K runs and a 5K walk. A representative for Brief Encounters, a Portland nonprofit organization specializing in support for families coping with the loss of a child, will give a presentation after runners return, and healthy snacks and refreshments will be available.
All proceeds from the fundraiser go to Brief Encounters.
Cohen has found solace from hosting this yearly event, but mostly keeps it going to benefit and help others.
"I wanted to kind of keep Noah's memory alive," she says. "It was very overwhelming how many people came out the first year. Seniors from the (community) center opened up. This happened to me and it really opened that up for them to talk about. This event brings out all kinds of people who have experienced loss."
Though she is happy to raise funds to provide support, she adds that "It's unfortunate that new people come each year, (because) new people have experienced loss."
With that influx, several new activities and groups have emerged to bring more to the event. Sandy Rocks will have a table for people to paint commemorative rocks, and there will be the usual bricks for sale, which can be purchased, engraved and placed in the walkway at the park.
"It's very moving and emotional," Cohen explains. "I feel like I'm giving back to people because they're in need of this too."