Hundreds turn out to show support at Running for Harlow 5k, but baby crosses final finish line same day
Sept. 14, 2017
Editor’s Note: In light of the unusual circumstance in the case of baby Harlow Jane Beesley, the Messenger is running this first-person report by Robert Stevens, managing editor. Stevens is telling the story of a 5K run supporting the Beesley family, and the baby’s passing the same day, from a personal perspective.
After hearing about a fundraiser to help a Fairview family support a baby girl born prematurely and weighing just 1-1/2 pounds, hundreds of Sanpete residents turned out to a fundraising event to show their support.
Despite the outpouring of community support, intended to raise money to enable the parents to stay by their baby’s side at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center (UVRMC), the happy ending everyone hoped for was not to be.
Harlow Jane Beesley, born to Tim and Lindsay at 26 weeks, passed away on Saturday, Sept. 2, the same day as the fundraiser. She lived for six weeks.
Close friends organized the fundraising event to help the Beesleys compensate for medical bills and lost wages.
Registration for the Running-for-Harlow 5K run/walk began at 180 Fitness in Mt. Pleasant at 7:30 a.m., and by 7:45 a.m., hundreds were waiting in the line, signing up for the run, making donations and getting their Running-for-Harlow T-shirts.
“It was amazing,” Lindsay Beesley said. “We had so much support. They ran out of shirts. It far exceeded expectations.”
Participants were loaded up on trailers pulled by pickups to be transported to the starting line. The line of trucks carrying about 200 participants looked like a parade winding down the back road between Mt. Pleasant and Fairview. The sun was out, the weather was cool and a sense of community was in the air.
When the run/walk began, some people raced ahead, eager to reach the finish line, where the top runners would be recognized. Others kept a slower pace, smiling as they chatted with fellow participants.
Among the runners and walkers, children on bikes and scooters zigzagged through the crowd on their eventual way to the finish line. Scores of strollers rolled along with their mothers. The rosy-cheeked babies inside peeked out at the commotion around them.
The top three male runners were Carl Peel, Jeff Cox and Nate Holley, in that order. The lead women runners were Kelsi Anderson, Maria Ricks and Ashley Harris.
Despite their fleet feet, none of them were running for recognition. Everyone crossed the line with one goal in mind—lending a hand to a family in need.
Luke Kelso, his wife and Lacey Rosenlof described the race they organized together as a big success, but that success could not possibly have softened the blow to the family when baby Harlow didn’t make it. Harlow died the same day, in her parents’ arms.
The money that was originally raised to help the family make up for lost wages while they stayed by their baby’s side, and for medical costs, had to stretch to cover funeral costs.
“The total amount raised was far more than any of us expected,” said Luke Kelso’s wife Jerrylynn, “but we know that it will never be enough to fill the void or make losing a child any easier.”
The Beesely family donned their Running-for-Harlow T-shirts and completed the entire 5K on Sunday, Sept. 3, the morning after their daughter passed away, in memory of her.
Tim Beesley will return to his job with CentraCom and Lindsay to her part-time job at the Sanpete County Children’s Justice Center next week.
The Beesleys say they would like to make the 5K an annual tradition, donating the proceeds to a different family in need each year.
“That’s Tim’s and my way of trying to give back,” Lindsay Beesley said. “I want to do that for people in need, and kind of to honor Harlow.”
The residents of Sanpete County have come together to help each other time and time again. The incredible support for former Gunnison City Police Chief Trent Halliday when he was diagnosed with Stage-4 cancer is a perfect example. The Halliday family “Refused to Lose.” The community had their back.
Sanpete County Search and Rescue members puts their lives at risk to help others over and over. They don’t get paid for it. They’re just helping their neighbors have a happy ending to difficult stories.
To Tim and Lindsay Beesly, no words can fix what happened. You have our deepest condolences. We hope your idea for an annual 5K to help needy families in Harlow’s honor is a tremendous success.
To all of Sanpete, keep up the community support, regardless of how the stories come out.