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SMAsh Dash Success

October 13, 2017 by Victoria Strong

The SMAsh Dash in Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas was a huge success! For the third year in a row, Rusty and Jessica Hastings gathered runners, walkers, children, SMA families, and companies to help change SMA. As avid runners themselves, creating the SMAsh Dash was a natural fit and their daughter, Kadence, who has SMA Type 3, is a big part of the race too, even speaking at the breakfast afterward. This year, the Hastings family teamed up with the BrAVERY Run created in 2012 in memory of Avery Canahuati. And together, they raised a remarkable $18,000 with nearly 250 runners and 18 company sponsors!!!

From Jessica:
"The race went better than we could’ve imagined. We worked really hard this year in getting sponsors for the race. This year we have 18 companies sponsor the SMAsh Dash. That alone helped us achieve our financial goal. Going into the race our goal was to have 200 registrants and raise $10,000. We blew that away and this year we actually had 244 registrants and we raised a little over $18,000.

We really live in a wonderful community that supports Kadence. She had such amazing people in her life register for the race: teachers and staff from her school (even her old assistant principal), her neurologist that is dosing her, her family access manager from Biogen, her daycare teacher that was there the day we received the diagnosis 6 years ago, some of our old high school friends from Houston, a SMA family from Floresville that has a Type 3, a SMA family from Houston with a Type 2 daughter, a SMA family from Austin who lost their daughter to SMA, family members, co-workers, cousins, family, kids in Kadence’s class, and friends. It was honestly just plain amazing that these people all took time out of their day to attend the race.

The race started at 7:30 and it was hot! The course was hilly but I think everyone enjoyed the challenge. Typically we push Kadence in the stroller but this year she is 8 and in her words, “Riding in a stroller this old is humiliating”. So this year Kadence was at the halfway point passing out water. It was hard for us knowing she couldn’t participate like we or she wanted to but I know getting to cheer everyone on was fun for her.

After everyone finished the race, we had a snow cone truck to cool off and we all headed inside for breakfast and the awards ceremony. My husband, Rusty, started by explaining SMA, and every year it chokes us all up. After a few tears, Kadence got up and thanked everyone for coming to the race. I love that she has a no fear attitude and is her own advocate. We really felt so humbled to know that all these people care about Kadence and SMA just as much as we do. You always hear the saying that it takes a village but it honestly takes more than that when your child has a devastating disease. We were blown away by all the support this year and it really reminds us that people were put in our life for a reason."

Since Kadence was diagnosed, the Hastings family has raised thousands for the SMA cause, decking out their whole family in NEVER GIVE UP., and even flying out to Santa Barbara one year to run with us. We are so humbled they have continually supported the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation. This year, they have chosen to donate $10,000 to support our programs and we are blown away. Thank you to everyone involved in this wonderful event. Thank you for embracing NEVER GIVE UP., living this mantra with force, and making such a difference. You are NEVER GIVE UP.  

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