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Pine-Richland graduate organizes 5K to support Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Devan Donovan's concussion sidelined her from school and lacrosse for eight months during her junior year, but it also inspired her to help members of the military with traumatic brain injuries.

The 2013 Pine-Richland High School graduate organized the Team UP! 5K Run-Walk last summer to raise money for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which supports severely wounded U.S. service members. Last year's event raised more than $6,000

This year's event will start at 9 a.m. Aug. 25 at the North Park Boathouse.

Fund President David Winters said the organization is grateful to Donovan for her support.

“We are always inspired when a young person like Devan steps up to make a difference,” Winters said. “Thanks to Devan and the participants of Team UP!, more service members will be one step closer to recovering from their invisible wounds.”

The fund is working to build nine satellite rehabilitation centers for service members with traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder that will keep them closer to their families, Donovan said.

Donovan said she could relate in some small way to service members with brain injuries as she dealt with one of her own after getting a concussion in November 2011. The concussion was so bad, she said, she “couldn't read or write for a long time.”

Being unable to participate in school or Intrepid Lacrosse, a girls travel lacrosse club, gave her a lot of free time, she said, which she put to good use after hearing about the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund from Intrepid Lacrosse club director Becky Luzier.

“It was just something I mentioned in passing conversation,” said Luzier, noting the two organizations shared the “Intrepid” name.

“I'm still really in awe with what this kid has decided to do with it.”

Donovan organized a 5K last summer to raise money. The 2012 race raised more than $6,000 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and had about 100 participants, she said, thanks in large part to support from her Intrepid Lacrosse family.

This year, Donovan said, she hopes to branch out and get people from all over the area to participate in the race.

Participants can sign up in teams or individually, although, Donovan said, she hopes people will come together as a team to enter the race, as the event name suggests.

“My mom brought up the fact that the military is a team, and I'm an athlete, so I tend to see people as a team,” Donovan said. “The military is the best team there is. So I thought it would be cool for people to sign up with others as a team.”

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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