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It's a memorial for loved ones, and fundraiser for the nonprofit that helps those grieving to cope

DAVID F. ASHTON - Milo, Phoebe, and Melanie Foster celebrate father and husband Shawn - who died a year ago from gun violence - with a hand-decorated portrait made with the help of project artist Max Collins of Hallow Studios. Along with the 200 people who had registered in advance to participate in the event, dozens of people walked in to the Duniway Elementary School playground and signed up on the spot to join the "Celebrate Silas Memorial 5K" on Sunday morning, March 3.

"This walk/run event – and the art installation of 68 memorial portraits created by Dougy Center participants and community members, to honor a deceased loved one – has grown considerably, thanks to a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC)," said Brennan Wood, the Executive Director of The Dougy Center for Grieving Children and Families.

The 5K walk and run honors Silas Bogdanovic, who died a week after his first birthday, its founder Jodie Brauer told THE BEE. "This is the eighth year for this – it started as a way for us to deal with losing Silas; and it's the sixth year that we've partnered with The Dougy Center."

The day has grown into much more than just a memorial for her son, Brauer acknowledged. "Seeing people coming together to celebrate people they've lost, both by participating in the 5K or showing hand-colored portraits of deceased loved one, is amazing and inspiring to me.

"While it helps me create meaning out of my own loss, it also helps create space for people to remember their loved ones who have died," Brauer reflected. "As a community, I don't think we do enough of this – providing space for communal grief."

It's also a fundraiser for The Dougy Center on S.E. 52nd Avenue, and this year it will have raised more than $14,000 to support local grieving families. "This will provide services for ten grieving kids and families, right here Southeast Portland," Wood pointed out.

After fueling up on donated sandwiches of whole wheat bread, nut butter, and bananas, along with coffee and hot chocolate, the group set out northbound on Reed College Place, over to the Portland Rhododendron Gardens on S.E. 28th, and back.

To learn more about The Dougy Center, go online – www.dougy.org


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