Running in rememberance; Ele’s Race brings comfort to those who lost loved ones

OKEMOS, Mich. (WLNS) – Whether you run or decided to walk, more than 700 people laced up their shoes for an incredible cause.

“We did the race the first time last year and we’re doing it again this year,” said Jean Vanostran; whose honoring her late granddaughter who passed away last year.

For 26 years, Ele’s Place has provided comfort for grieving children and families coping with the loss of a loved one and for Jean Vanostran, today’s 14th annual “Ele’s Race” has a significant meaning.

“My granddaughter died last year, we knew for many years…they didn’t think Gracie was going to live to be three and she lived to be 13,” Vanostran stated.

Jean says when Grace died of cerebral palsy, Ele’s Place was there.

“They have answers, they have time, they’re just kind, gentle, caring…and so many of the people who work there have been there,” Vanostran added.

Today’s 5-K was a way the community could give back to the non-profit that’s changed many lives including Bridget Binze whose boyfriend died in 2008 when she was in high school.

“I don’t know if there’s words that can describe it but when you walk in there, there’s a feeling and you feel at home,” Binze stated.

Bridget says without the assistance of Ele’s place, she’s wouldn’t be in the place she is today.

“I met a girl who actually her dad passed away and my boyfriend had passed away and their birthdays were the same day and so you just made these connections with all sorts of people from all sorts of different walks of life,” said Binze.

Ultimately for the hundreds that “hit the ground running” today, there’s one thing that’s certain…Ele’s Place is there to connect others dealing with tragedy and help those grieving…to heal.

“They’re not alone and it does get better,” said Binze.

Today’s race raised nearly $90,000.

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