For the second straight year, the Laurencia Orphans Victory Event – LOVE – 5K is making tracks through St. Michael this weekend, thanks to a family that has turned its grief and loss into a life of love and giving.
Monticello’s Witschen family, which is part of St. Michael’s Dehmer/Nielsen/Witschen clan, is turning the grief of a loss child into a self-proclaimed “victory,” establishing a charity in their late daughter Laurencia’s name to help children around the nation, and even the world, who are in need.
The charity officially kicked off in 2014, when the family organized and hosted the “L.O.V.E” 5K run (Laurencia’s Orphan Victory Event). This year’s run will kick off at around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22, with registration from 7 to 8 a.m., at the St. Michael Public Works Building, near the Recreational Park in St. Michael.
There will also be a “fun run” for kids ages 5 to 11 (they’ll be divided into three age groups) and a diaper crawl for the little ones who aren’t quite walking or running yet. All of the details can be found on the L.O.V.E. 5K run website, which is a part of mom Katrina’s blog, dubbed “Victory of the Lamb,” written in Laurencia’s honor and capturing the life of Laurencia’s twin, Valencia, who is nearly a year old today.
Katrina writes: “We cherish every moment we had with Laurencia and the beauty she brought to our lives. But she’s only just begun leaving her mark on this world. In her memory, we believe many little lives could be impacted in beautiful ways. Laurencia doesn’t get to be here. We don’t get to hold her here. However, there are millions of children around the world longing to be held, to be wanted, to be loved, to have a family, some even fighting just for a chance at life.”
The run, then, is serving two needs – a way to keep Laurencia’s spirit alive for all to remember her brief, amazing life; and a way to reach out and help children everywhere in need, the family said.
“Since we love running and have been racing for several years, we thought it would be the best way for us to raise awareness of the needs of abandoned children. After Laurencia and Valencia were born, it seemed clear, and we felt called even, to hold an event in Laurencia’s memory. What began as an idea for a race became Laurencia’s Victory, a nonprofit organized to answer the call to act on behalf of those unable to speak for themselves.”
The course is USATF Certified, so people looking to qualify for larger events can register and use the run accordingly. The event is “chip timed” by Gopher State Events.
IF YOU GO
What: L.O.V.E. 5K, Little Lambs fun run and Butterfly diaper crawl
Where: St. Michael Public Works Building on River Road (old city hall), near Rec Park
When: Run starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 22. Registration from 7 to 8 a.m. or, sign up TODAY at www.love5Krun.org
Why: To raise funds for orphans in need around the country/world in honor of the late Laurencia Witschen.
More info: www.LaurenciasVictory.org