Barboursville Winter Series raises $2,500 for Aria Smith College Fund
By: Pat Riley
The 2015-2016 Barboursville Winter Series was a tremendous success, with over 150 people signing up for the challenge of staying fit all winter long. Runners and walkers battled some incredible winter weather and bone-chilling cold (22' and windy for the 5 Miler on Valentine's Day).
At TriStateRacer.com, we have two goals: to promote fitness and raise millions for charities. Our team has hosted the Barboursville Winter Series over the past 6 years in the hopes of inspiring people to stay fit all winter long and to give back to local charity.
We decided to dedicate the proceeds from the 2015-2016 series to the Aria Smith College Fund. On November 30th, Gilbert and Courtney Smith welcomed their first child to the world, Aria. The mother and daughter were doing fantastic and were sent home, as in most cases. While Courtney and Gilbert were still figuring out how to be parents (Like most of us within the first couple of weeks (Months, Years) do), Courtney was rushed backed to the hospital where she tragically passed away. (Full Story here: http://www.wsaz.com/home/headlines/Huntington-kindergarten-teacher-dies-one-week-after-C-section-delivery-361473251.html).
At TriStateRacer.com, we are proud to say that we are as close to a 100% local business as anyone can be and we strive to make sure that, when we need professional help, we use local, talented people. In the early days of TriStateRacer.com, I reached out to a local business and was introduced to Aria's Father, Gilbert. Gilbert is a programming genius! He really helped build TriStateRacer.com into what it has become today and helped us raise millions for charities and helped us to encourage thousands of runners to run hundreds of thousands of miles over the years.
If you have ever met Gilbert, he is a man of few words, and while I had heard about the story of the "Young teacher who tragically passed away days after giving birth", I failed to make the connection till right before the first race in the series on December 20, 2015. I did my research and found that Sara Beth Bowles, a friend of the Smith's, setup a scholarship fund on GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/j2ey2544) for Aria Smith and I immediately knew that we needed to give back to Gilbert and his family who have contributed so much (Behind the scenes) to help grow TriStateRacer.com.
Today, I am happy to announce that we raised $2,500, for the Aria Smith College Fund. This will go a long way in helping this little girl, who will never know her mother, to become anything she wants to be when she grows up. We know that this contribution will grow to become a lot more over the next 18 years, when Aria will be able to use it.
I want to thank everyone who came out and accepted the challenge of being fit all winter with no knowledge of where the proceeds from the event will go. We didn't want to make a big deal out of it. Just like Aria's father, we wanted to work behind the scenes to help. The only reason I am going public with this now is to call attention to a goal that has not been reached yet.
As I sit here and write this on February 15, 2016, it has been over 2 months since anyone has contributed to Aria's GoFundMe page. If you can, go to her page and let's help Sara Beth Bowles DESTROY the goal set for Aria's College Fund. Simply click https://www.gofundme.com/j2ey2544 and even if you can only contribute $5, please do so! That $5 will grow over the next 18 years!