Every year since its inception, Litehouse Foods has sponsored a company team for the annual Celebrate Life Fun Run / Walk held in Sandpoint. The event is a benefit for Celebrate Life, a local nonprofit that raises money to support the needs of cancer patients in the area. Monies raised through the event are distributed through local medical care facilities such as Bonner General Hospital, Hospice, Home Health and Kootenai Cancer Center.
The event began in 2004 by a young woman, Jenny Meyer, who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer at the age of 26. Jenny lost her struggle with cancer in 2008, but her simple vision of a community that helps cancer patients with practical needs, such as groceries, gas, massages, firewood, housecleaning assistance, airfare, medication, medical equipment, car repairs, monetary gifts and special requests. With the help of Jenny’s sister, Julie Walkington, as well as a friend and co-worker January Tuinstra, Celebrate Life has lived on in Jenny’s memory. The annual run, walk or ride across Sandpoint’s scenic Long Bridge brings families, friends and neighbors together for a common cause – to extend needed care to those who are coping with cancer. Over the past nine years Celebrate Life has raised $140,000; for the most part, these funds are re-invested locally. Litehouse is proud to be a sponsor of the event this year and of the Litehouse employee representative team that participated. Many Litehouse employees knew and loved Jenny; some went to school and were in the same class with her. A documentary film about her struggle with cancer, titled “Jenny’s Journal”, was written by Jenny Meyer and her high school journalism teacher, Marianne Love and directed by her friend Jeff Brock. The film, for which Brock won the 2006 Idaho Panhandle International Film Festival Best Northwest Filmmaker Award, documents the thoughts and feelings Jenny wrote in her journal after learning she was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after finding out she was pregnant. Celebrate Life is a demonstration of how, when a community comes together, kindness and compassion can help ease the pain and stress of those who are suffering while bringing families, friends, neighbors, survivors and cancer-warriors together to celebrate the day, each other and life. For anyone interested, Jenny’s blog, Mangy Moose Acres, is still online. Here is a video that chronicles the 2012 Celebrate Life Run / Walk - enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_vuhr8vUkY0