5K race teaches us to never give up

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

Jane McDaniel, the founder of Columbiana’s Never Ever Give Up Race, started the race because she felt called to do so after Columbiana native Chris Goodwin, then a Shelby County High School senior, was in a near-fatal accident and lost a leg in February 2012.

Goodwin, who today attends the University of Alabama and is on the university wheelchair basketball team, had countless medical bills, and McDaniel wanted to find a way to help.

Organizers prayed the first Never Ever Give Up Race would have 20 runners; actual turnout doubled that number, as 44 runners came out on Nov. 3, 2012 to help raise more than $2,000 for the Goodwin family.

McDaniel and her co-organizers vowed to keep the blessings going, immediately making plans for another NEGU Race to be held in June 2013.

McDaniel recently announced the honorees chosen for this year’s NEGU Race. Those honorees include Chelsea resident Tripp Nichols, who is about 1 year old and suffers from blindness and seizures, and Calera resident Cayden Atchison, a 3-year-old with cerebral palsy.

Tripp and Cayden are both beautiful children who are deeply deserving — along with their families — of the help the NEGU Race can provide for them. I’ve been doing stories on the NEGU Race since its inception in 2012, and have been so pleased to see it continue to grow and serve Shelby County citizens.

The NEGU Race is truly a service project for Shelby County and, with time, can become a huge event — especially if the people of Columbiana and Shelby County rise up to support it.

There are so many 5K races around — it seems like there are several every weekend during the spring and summer. But this is a race that was founded right here in Shelby County, and the money goes to help county residents. What could be more important?

McDaniel said organizers are still looking for volunteers to help out during the race and registration is ongoing. To volunteer or sign up, visit Shelbycountynegu.com.

Amy Jones is the Associate Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 30 or by email at amy.jones@shelbycountyreporter.com.