Remembering Ryan: Running his walk
The foundation was created to memorialize Ryan Bertini, who passed away at age 8, due to health complications. His kindness and charisma is the inspiration behind all this.
“We do this to keep his memory alive,” said Alexandra Bertini, Ryan’s mother. “There are so many people that either knew Ryan well or never met him at all, but still want to help. So they take part in this foundation.”
Ryan’s Runners, which is the name they have given themselves, have been fund-raising throughout the year and gaining the support of their friends and family who will sponsor them as they run.
So far, the group of 23 runners has raised $3,200. Proceeds raised so far and up until the race will be put into a grant, separated into mini-grants and then donated to schools throughout Erie and Niagara County to support the Competitive Visual Performance Arts.
In past years, mini-grants have been donated to area schools in the amounts of $2,000 and $5,000 covering the costs of musical instruments, stage lighting, dance programs and more for various schools throughout both counties.
“The full amount raised will benefit the students,” said Alexandra. “The Remembering Ryan Foundation is ran solely on man power and volunteer work, the funds don’t go toward the foundation.”
Among the 23 runners are Alexandra’s sisters Jennifer Walsh and Shannon George.
Walsh, Ryan’s godmother and aunt, made a promise that she would always help Alexandra keep Ryan’s memory alive.
Although the proceeds that Ryan’s Runners raise will be donated to help musically inclined students, their reason for running is more personal.
“We are running to show Ryan we will never forget. Every struggle we approach in this race we know Ryan will pull us through, because everyday he endured pain and he used all his strength to walk just a few steps,” said Walsh. “So we will remember this just when we think it’s getting tough out there and we will get through, because we are running the miles Ryan never got the chance to.”
Alexandra added, “This run is symbolic of all the miles he wasn’t able to run, because he struggled to walk.”
The race will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 in Lewiston at Artpark, with runners taking on the task of the half-marathon or the 5K run, and finishing the race in Youngstown.
To sponsor Ryan’s Runners visit their website at www.rememberingryanfoundation.org and make a PayPal donation, or head to the race that morning to show your support by cheering them on as they run the miles that Ryan was unable to walk.