Photo by Jennie McGhan
About 15 runners start Friday’s fundraising run in support of Mike Akins, organizer of the annual Sage Rat Run.
PROSSER More than a dozen people were at Miller Park on Friday in a show of support for retired Grandview Police officer and Sage Rat Run organizer Mike Akins.
Earlier this month, he suffered a brain aneurism and is currently hospitalized at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle.
The group, consisting primarily of people who have been involved in the annual Sage Rat Run, gathered for an “Opt Outside” run. The impromptu event took place on the Sage Rat Run’s 15K “Dirty Rat Run” course.
Shamra and Sam Smith organized the event, which also served as a fundraiser for Akins.
“We just got an update on Mike,” Shamra told Friday’s participants. “His breathing tube was removed and his lungs are working.”
Organizers aren’t certain whether the 2017 Sage Rat Run will take place, she told participants. “We are focused on Mike and his family.”
The group was pleased to hear Akins’ condition is improving. They showed up with donations for his medical bills and were told additional donations can be made online at gofundme.com/MikeAkinsfund.
Dave McCurry volunteers at the annual Sage Rat Run and his wife — Vicki — and daughter —Noria Treault — run in races at the event.
The McCurrys said they participated in Friday’s event because they felt it important to support the Akins family.
“When we learned about this, we instantly committed to participate,” Dave said. “This is hugely important.”
Vicki agreed, stating she has been impressed with Mrs. Akins, who designs the medals for the Sage Rat Run. “She is a really great person.”
Mike Akins left Dave with an immense sense of respect and admiration. “I worked with him last spring and had a really good time. He’s always generous and believes in recognizing everyone around him.
“This event has become a personal event for my family.”
Sam Smith said, “Mike is a dear friend — he would want us to be safe.”
He told the participants Friday’s event was more about providing moral support for Akins than it was financial.
“The emotional well-being is just as important as physical and financial health,” Smith said.
Shamra told the group, “Terry (Akins) was in tears this morning because she was so grateful for your support.”