Support for Bereda family runs through community

Submitted Photo The Westfield community is putting on a benefit run for the Bereda family following a serious automobile accident over the summer that claimed the lives of two of their children.

WESTFIELD — Westfield Mayor Michael VandeVelde has declared Saturday, Oct. 28, 2017 “Run for Bereda Day.” On this day, the community is hosting a unique 5K race at Welch Field in Westfield to show support for the Bereda family.

The Run For Bereda commemorates the Bereda children, Brennen and Finley who were just 5 and 1 when their lives were tragically taken in a motor vehicle accident in Terre Haute, Indiana in July. Their mother, Christina Bereda, grew up in Westfield and graduated from Westfield Academy and Central School. Christina and son, Jorden, age 3, survived the wreck and are at home in Shiloh, Illinois.

Friends of the Bereda family, Kelsey Thomas and Christina Akin, wanted to do something to remember the children and extend support to Christina, her husband, David and Jorden. Christina and David are avid runners and have participated in many road races, and often include their children in the races, which is why hosting this family-oriented 5K race seemed the perfect idea.

Apart from typical road races, the Run For Bereda includes a mapped 5K, however it is not timed, instead it aims to be a demonstration of remembrance and support. Participants may walk or run with strollers, wagons, dogs and any and all other family gear. The Run For Bereda also does not require an entry fee. Event organizers do not want a fee to discourage community members.

A Kids Fun Run is another unique feature of the 5K race day. The Fun Run is an event where young children may run in a shorter 1-mile looped race around Welch field. Because the Run For Bereda takes place close to Halloween — Saturday, Oct. 28 — children are encouraged to wear costumes. Additional children’s activities include face painting and pumpkin painting.

Denise Williams, Christina’s mother and local resident created the “Bereda Children Memorial” fund. The monies will be placed in a trust with its mission to help children in the community who are in need of medical assistance. Proceeds from the race will go to this fund.

At this time, the family first and foremost, wants to remember the children. The following excerpt was written in the obituary and brings to light touching memories of the Bereda children:

“Brennen was such a character, full of joy and loved life. He was kind-hearted and a buddy to all of his friends and cousins. He was just like his daddy and loved to dance and laugh. He was the best big brother, and will be forever looking after his sister in Heaven, as he did here on earth.

“Beautiful Finley with her bright blue eyes, was the perfect baby girl her mommy always prayed for. She loved to play with her big brothers, giggle, and snuggle. She brought joy to all that knew her.

“May their memories continue to shine as bright as the sun and be as clear as the stars in a desert sky.”

If race participants would like to donate money, a $20 check or cash amount is suggested on the day of the event. Participants are asked to register online and sign a waiver at Registration tables are open at 9 a.m. and the run begins at 10 a.m., rain or shine.

There will also be a basket raffle for attendees who wish to take a chance at the race day event. Local businesses are being asked to make donations to the raffle and can drop them off at Welch Field from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 27.