It was only the second time out of six that Maddie’s butterflies had sunshine in which to flutter their wings as they ran or walked a 5-kilometer course.
“We think that Maddie giggles, that it tickles her to see us run in the rain,” said Donna Morgan, mother of Madilyn Grace Morgan, who died in 2005 after a struggle with pulmonary veno occlusive disease.
Her family formed the Butterflies for Maddie Foundation in 2006, and the 5K run and walk as well as a half-mile fun run for kids grew out of that as a fundraiser. Morgan thinks of all those who participate in and help with the event as Maddie’s butterflies.
When Maddie was on life support in Kosair’s Children’s Hospital in Louisville, a friend of theirs wrote a song based on some of the things he saw around her. He named it “Butterflies for Maddie,” “so it just kind of stuck,” Morgan said of the foundation and fundraising events’ name.
As the sun warmed the Saturday morning that had had lows in the mid-30s, people from all over the region flocked to the Barren County Family YMCA, and between 450 and 500 had registered for the sixth annual 5K.
“I stand at the finish line. That’s the only time I get to see and kiss everybody and thank them for coming,” Donna Morgan said.
She was handing out high fives left and right later as runners and walkers came up that last hill on YMCA Way and approached the end of the challenge, but not until after she had led the way along the route, standing through the sunroof of a black police SUV with her white wings stark against her otherwise black outfit and her hair.
Saturday represented firsts in several ways, such as the first time in an actual race or in this particular race for some runners.
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