ShareThis Page

Race in North Park helps youths fight spinal cord injuries, illnesses

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Alex Brown and his dad, Eric Brown, participating in the race.
Submitted | Pine Creek Journal
Alex Brown and his dad, Eric Brown, participating in the race.
Awaiting cutline
Submitted | Pine Creek Journal
Awaiting cutline

Loved ones of people with spinal cord maladies might want to enter the fourth annual Team Alex 5K/5-Mile Run/Walk at 9 a.m. May 18 in North Park.

The event is the brainchild of Brian McWilliams, 18, a 2012 graduate of Pine-Richland High School and a freshman at the University of Alabama.

“This year's race is expected to be bigger than ever, with more sponsors, auction items and participants,” said McWilliams, son of Kevin and Karen McWilliams of Pine.

Brian McWilliams launched the fundraising race and walk in 2010 to help toddler Alex Brown, son of Eric Brown — one of McWilliams' former teachers — after the child was diagnosed with a mass on his spine.

“He's still undergoing regular therapy,” McWilliams said about Alex Brown. “He's made a lot of progress.”

Since 2010, McWilliams's annual walk-run has raised more than $75,000 for the Team Alex Fund, a nonprofit organization that McWilliams also started in 2010.

The Team Alex Fund offers grants for the purchase of therapy and mobility equipment for children with spinal cord injuries and illnesses.

Since its inception, the Team Alex Fund has awarded more than $50,000 in grants, according to McWilliams, who plans to become a physician.

Since 2010, more than 1,800 people have registered to participate in a Team Alex run or walk. About 250 people are registered — so far — for the 2013 event, McWilliams said.

Registration — $18 before May 4 and $25 after May 4 — includes a post-race party with free refreshments, and an awards ceremony. Top performers in three age groups will receive trophies, medals or gift certificates.

McWilliams also invites people to a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. May 17 in Oldenski Hall at St. Ferdinand Parish, 2535 Rochester Road, Cranberry, sponsored by the Friends of Team Alex and the Pine-Richland High School National Honor Society.

Proceeds will benefit the Team Alex Fund.

The dinner will include a display of items set for giveaway through silent and Chinese auctions. The items range from signed sports memorabilia and overnight getaways to amusement park tickets and restaurant gift cards.

Race day registration for the fourth annual Team Alex 5K/5 Mile Run/Walk will open at 7:30 a.m. May at North Park Boathouse, 339 Pearce Mill Road. To register for the event, visit Team Alex Fund's online site:

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.