Koenig hosts 6th annual Levi Link Fun Run

Levi’s Links event creator and director Megan Wilson with her husband Rob and sons Levi (with service dog) and Noah at the Koenig gravel pit. Photos by Wendy Thibodeau Photography

By Don Rush

Over 200 runners descended on Oxford on May 21 for the 6th annual Levi’s Link 10K, 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk.

According to the run’s creator and director Megan Wilson, 238 runners helped raise funds for the Levi‘s Link special-needs hospital program at McLaren, Port, Huron, and McLaren, greater Lansing. The top runners were: for the 10K Nickolaus Pinaire, Novi and Khristine Kirkbride, of Morrice. Steven Marr of Essexville won the 5K for the men’s division and Holly Gould of Ray won for the women. Runners from Oxford who finished in the upper tier of their age group were: In the 5 K race, Katelyn DiGasbarro, first in her age group (Female 20-29); Amy Petoskey, first in her age group (Female 50-59); and Martha Myers, second in her age group (Female 40-49). In the 10K, Oxford’s Kathryn Trotter was first in her age group (Female 40-49) and Jack Beall finished second in his age group (Male 50-59.)

We raised $65,000 to split between the two hospitals for this year’s run. In the last six years Levi’s Link Run has raised over $315,000 for the hospital program,” Wilson said.

This was the first time the race was run in Oxford at Koenig Materials on Lakeville Road.

Wilson said Levi’s Link is a first-of-its-kind program in the state of Michigan providing individualized care for patients with special needs at select McLaren Hospitals. The program launched in 2018 at McLaren Port Huron and in 2022 expanded to the new McLaren Greater Lansing hospital. Levi’s Link was established to improve the hospital experience of patients with special needs of all ages (including autism, down syndrome, sensory processing disorders, and other special needs) who may be stressed by the normal activity that occurs during a hospital visit.

Levi’s Link offers personalized patient care based on information gathered during the pre-admission testing assessment. Some accommodations for patients may include reduced exposure to bright lights and noise, and hands-on activities, such as iPads and interactive, tactile toys. Patients and their families will also have access to educational tools and social stories that describe and illustrate the patient’s surgical and hospital experience.

The Koenig Materials gravel pit provided scenic and uncommon terrain for runners and walkers. Wilson said the weather was sunny and beautiful, with temperatures just under 60 degrees.

Oxford was remarkable,” she said. “The community support was unmatched and we look forward to returning for our 7th Annual Levi’s Link Run in 2024.”

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