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Large crowd turns out for Brody Strong 5K

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Christian Gemignani and Madeline Gemignani run to the finish line during the Brody Strong 5K in Chassell Saturday.

CHASSELL — Even with concerns about COVID-19 and the steady rain Saturday morning, an estimated 100 people came out for the second annual Brody Strong 5K Fun Run/Walk in Chassell.

The race was created in honor of Brody Etelamaki, who died at the age of 4 from brain cancer. After his death, his family created the Brody Strong foundation to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

“I wanted to continue my son’s legacy so that other parents don’t have to go what we went through and other children don’t have to go through what Brody went through,” said his mother, Tanya Etelamaki.

The money raised goes to pediatric brain cancer research at MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, where Brody was treated.

“If they find better treatments or a cure, it’s going to be shared throughout all the hospitals,” she said.

Colson Kytta of Chassell received a plaque as the overall winner.

“It’s really awesome,” said Kytta, who is in the middle of cross country season. “I think the turnout is a lot bigger than last year, which is surprising, because of the weather. But it’s really fun, and it’s for a good cause, so it’s a win-win.”

While some ran through wet grass and mud, others were content to walk the route under umbrellas.

Whatever pace they finished the route at, Brody’s sister, Maddie Barnett, said the turnout demonstrates the community support Brody continues to have.

“Brody went through a lot, and to see everyone participate even though the weather is bad is amazing,” she said.

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