HASTINGS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds gathered Saturday in Hastings for a 5K event to honor a local nurse who died of pancreatic cancer five days after her birthday last year.
Rusty Blakely says his wife, Wendy would be turning 55. She was diagnosed late and had little chance to overcome the disease.
Blakely created the event in memory of his wife and to benefit the Wendy Jo Blakely Je T’aime Fund.
So far, he’s raised nearly $8,000. Blakely says all the money raised will go directly to pancreatic cancer research at the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
“There is still so much work to be done with cancer research,” Blakely said. “We’re hoping any money we raise here can help give them a boost in their research.”
Blakely was overwhelmed by the support he received from the community.
“I’m deeply touched, but I know it’s because so many people around this area knew my wife. She was a registered nurse for 30 years, 22 years here locally,” Blakely said. “She touched so many lives. Every day of her life, she touched people. And that’s why you see so many here in support of that.”
Blakely says his wife lived her life to the fullest every day and truly made a difference in her community.
They will be holding a similar event in Florida later this month, where the couple lived for the past eight years.
More information about Blakely’s efforts can be found online.