By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Dozens ran around Boomer Lake at the first ever Freeze Your Fanny 5K and Fun Walk to raise money for Judith Karman Hospice and honor one of its former board members.
“We wanted to do something a little bit different,” hospice Director Lisa Smith said. Runners and walkers made their way around Boomer Lake Monday in the chilly January air during the fun walk and the 5-kilometer race. Smith said approximately 76 runners signed up for the event that the hospice plans to hold each year.
The hospice provides support for terminally ill patients and their families in the Stillwater and Payne County area. The hospice helps care for the patients in their homes, gives the families emotional support and continues to support them for a year after the family member dies.
The run also honors the memory of Mary Jo Sohrwide who was a registered nurse, president of the hospice’s board of directors and a member of the Stillwater medical community.
Sohrwide died several years ago after suddenly falling ill, requiring some of the hospice services she worked so hard to make sure were there for others.
Sohrwide became an avid runner in the 1980s, her sister Susan Turner said. Sohrwide lived behind Boomer Lake and enjoyed running around it every day.
“She loved to run and I think this was the best way to honor her,” said Sohrwide’s daughter, Taylor. She said she did not realize what a huge impact her mother had on the community until Sohrwide got sick and floods of people visited her in the hospital and shared countless stories of her kindness at her funeral.
“This is something she would have loved,” Taylor said as she and Turner prepared to run.
The winner of the race with a time just over 19 minutes was 59-year old Mike Kelly, an area doctor and friend of Sohrwide’s. Kelly, a doctor, worked with her for several years at Warren Clinic.
“I came out here to support Judith Karman Hospice and to remember my friend Mary Jo Sohrwide,” Kelly said.